Changes in Treating the Periodontal Patient

New research and evidence is changing the way we look at and treat the periodontal patient. Below I’ve outlined six changes for you to be aware of:

Plaque is no longer the sole determinant. This new line of thinking has had a significant impact on how periodontists treat patients. The concept of plaque as the sole determinant of periodontal disease and the strong emphasis on soft-tissue management has been challenged by enhanced understanding of individual differences in inflammatory response.

Diagnosing existing disease is not enough. In addition, mounting research has suggested that simply diagnosing existing disease is no longer sufficient in determining which patients may benefit from advanced periodontal care.

Special testing is required for the best treatment. Essentially, not all periodontal disease cases are the same. Risk assessment, microbial testing, and genetic screening may also be necessary to help identify those patients who can effectively be treated by the general dental team and those who would likely benefit from periodontal specialty care early on.

Patient co-management is critical. Treatment by a periodontal specialist in concert with the general dentist is increasingly critical as patients live longer, experience more chronic disease, and take more medications than ever before in history. This partnership is particularly important in light of the growing body of evidence linking periodontal disease and other systemic disease.

In this era of modern health care, information technology, and medical-legal case law, general dentists should not be expected to do it all. Dental specialists are available to help manage risk – both the patient’s and the referring general dentist’s.

Patient co-management can be an incredibly effective and rewarding relationship, reaping benefits for both care providers and their shared patients.

Patients with timely periodontal treatment are more successful. General dentists and their hygienists are often the front line in terms of diagnosing existing periodontal disease and determining the appropriate course of treatment; however, published data on tooth survival have consistently demonstrated that treatment rendered in a timely manner by periodontists is highly successful. These published, repeated studies have tracked therapy rendered by periodontists over 10 to 50 years.

Advanced treatment options. Additionally, treatment options offered by periodontists have evolved dramatically. Advancements in periodontal bone and soft-tissue regeneration have enabled countless patients to regain health, function, and esthetics for their natural teeth. Periodontists have embraced the latest innovations in dentistry in their efforts to save teeth, including…

  • growth factors and biologics
  • bone grafting
  • biologic membranes
  • root coverage techniques
  • functional and esthetic crown lengthening procedures
  • antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals
  • newly designed instrumentation

In fact, one of the most exciting and promising treatment alternatives is Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP). In my office, I have used LANAP to treat over 175 patients and these patients have experienced tremendous results from the procedure including restoration of healthy gums and jawbone re-growth.

If any of your patients show signs of periodontal disease, let them know that new treatment options such as LANAP are available to them. Have them contact our office [] for a consultation for our LANAP services for a dramatically less traumatic, yet highly effective alternative to cut and stitch gum surgery.

With your help, we can reduce gum disease, increase awareness and treatment, helping your patients have the best dental health possible.