Sometimes gingivitis can get out of hand, especially if you haven’t had a cleaning or prophylaxis in over a year. The gingival (gum) inflammation goes deeper under the gum line, and reaches the supporting bone. This is called periodontal disease, and the bone will actually start to dissolve from the infection. This can be diagnosed by probing the gums with a little ruler to see where it drops down into a pocket. Also X-Rays will show the extent of bone loss. These pockets invariably have calculus (tartar) in them, and must be cleaned out more aggressively by “scaling”, “root planning”, and “curettage”.
After a topical anesthetic is swabbed on the gums, a few drops of anesthetic is injected to allow the cleaning process to be pain free. First an ultrasonic wand with a water spray is used to do the majority of the cleaning. Then scalers, which are hand instruments the dental hygienist routinely uses, finishes up the deep cleaning. After that a Soft Tissue Laser is used to sterilize the pocket and surrounding gums while gently debriding the inner gums of any remaining diseased and inflamed tissue. The healing is faster, painless, and non-inflammatory, as the Laser blocks the release of histamines. Also, very often a time released antibiotic called ARESTIN is squirted into the pocket to allow for 3 weeks of uninterrupted healing. Arestin consists of time released nano spheres of Minocycline that works for 21 days at an extremely high tissue saturation dose. Contrary to oral antibiotics, there is no systemic effect to the body and GI system.