It’s always a better choice to go with the non-surgical option rather than a surgical option if at all possible. No matter the medical procedure, if a non-surgical option is available, every dental professional or physician will encourage you to try that option first. Non-surgical options come with much less risk, are usually cheaper, and have a quicker recovery time. The same thing goes for periodontal treatments. If the disease is at a level that it can be treated with a non-surgical option, your dental professional will go this route first.

What are the Options?

Commonly, there are two routes taken when treating periodontal disease without involving surgery. The first option, which is the more common route is scaling and root planing. This procedure happens in one visit and the patient has usually left with very little pain afterward. In this non-invasive procedure, plaque and tartar are removed from the root of the tooth and the root is smoothed. Deep pockets of the root are cleaned out, effectively removing and cleaning damaged portions of the gums. This allows the gums to heal and for further work to be done to damaged teeth within the affected area.

It’s important to note that if there are damaged teeth such as those with cavities or decay, they will have to wait for treatment if the gums are in bad shape. For example, if there is a tooth needing a cavity filled but the gums surrounding that tooth has been affected by periodontal disease, that tooth will most likely not hold the new filling. This is because the periodontal disease causes the gums to loosen and lift away from the teeth. In order for gums to be healthy enough to accept other procedures such as fillings, it’s important to scaling and root planning occur first. Often times, scaling and root planning can happen in the same visit as a filling, depending on circumstances.

The other option for non-surgical periodontal treatment is a customized tray. Many people are familiar with clear aligners or clear retainers. These are customized to fit your teeth after a mold is taken. These trays work much in the same way. This tray administers medications, gradually to the affected areas of the mouth in order to heal the periodontal disease over time. The effectiveness of this method is not superior to the scaling and root planning therefore, both options should be left up to a dental professional and their patient.

As always, discuss with your dentist the best course of action for your specific circumstances. Each patient is different therefore, treatments options available may vary depending on each patient’s needs. Your dental professional will present you with your options but, will always lean towards the non-surgical option if available.