What is the treatment for mild periodontal disease?

Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
A treatment called Phase One Perio, also known as Soft Tissue Management can be effective in stopping bone destruction related to milder periodontal disease.

Phase One Perio or Soft Tissue Management involves a lot of scraping, digging and smoothing in the diseased gum area. Called scaling and root planning, it's a non-surgical treatment that involves removing the offending substance above and below the gum.
  • Scaling removes the deposits of tartar above and below the gum. A scaler looks like a pen with a curved end, making it easier for the dentist to get into the hard-to-reach spots, like the pockets.  Scaling also removes any diseased bacteria (called bacterial endotoxins) that may have gotten under the gum and stuck on to the root surfaces. After scaling, most hygienists go over the area over again with an ultrasonic vibrating tool, which acts like a mini sand blaster that literally blasts the more accessible hardened deposits off the teeth. 
  • Root planing goes after the bacterial endotoxins under the gum, and removes any diseased cementum (that cell layer covering the outside of the root that keeps the tooth attached) that might be there as well. Root planing smoothes the area the same way a carpenter buffs away roughness in a piece of wood.
If the gum tissue is also inflamed, the hygienist or dentist will also do something called curettage. Curettage removes the inner lining of the inflamed tissue, which then allows the new tissue to heal against the newly cleaned, "buffed" root surface.

Before he sends you home to care for your tender healing gums, your dentist may also insert a chemotherapeutic agent into the area, either in a chip that he'll stick under your gum flap or a gel, called Arrestin, which he'll insert with a syringe. They usually contain an antibiotic, like doxycycline or minocycline, which kills any remaining bacteria, speeds healing time and helps the pocket shrink faster. They're time-released and continue to work for about ten days. Many dentists also like to give patients an anti-bacterial rinse, called Peridex (lab name: chlorhexidine gluconate). Peridex stains teeth, so you need to over-compensate with an at-home stain removing, whitening product during the entire time that you use it.
Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty

More About this Book

Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty

Renowned dentist and creator of the GoSMILE product line Dr. Levine offers this complete guide to getting a whiter, brighter smile. 15 photos & illustrations.

Continue Learning about Periodontitis

What Is Gum Disease?
What Is Gum Disease?
“A chronic infection leads to chronic inflammation and an immune system that’s in overdrive all the time,” says Nancy Newhouse, DDS, MS, a board-certi...
Read More
How is periodontal disease (gum disease) treated?
Gum disease in diabetics should be aggressively treated because of the risk of early tooth loss. Bru...
More Answers
How do I manage my periodontitis on a daily basis?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
If you notice swelling and redness in the tissues around your teeth, you may have periodontitis, a f...
More Answers
Walk Your Way to a Nicer Smile
Walk Your Way to a Nicer Smile

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.