If your dentist has said that you have long-term, or chronic, periodontitis, this means that your gum disease has gotten to a stage in which the bacteria living in your mouth have invaded and infected the tissues around your teeth. The gum tissue actually pulls away from the teeth, leaving behind spaces called "pockets" that can easily become infected. This kind of infection may not be able to be reversed or "cured" but may be treated to prevent further damage.
One way to deal with long-term periodontitis is with special cleaning procedures done by your dentist, called scaling and root planing. Scaling and planing procedures help remove the tartar and bacteria that lead to periodontitis. Other treatment options may involve antibiotic gels, antibiotic tablets taken by mouth, and enzyme suppressants, which are medicines used to lower the amount of enzymes produced by your body that may destroy gum tissue.
In severe cases of chronic periodontitis, you may have to have surgery to open up the infected pockets (flap surgery) or to help promote bone and gum growth (bone and tissue grafts).