As discussed in our previous posts, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria getting into the pockets between your teeth and your gum tissue. In the past, the only solution when periodontal disease progressed was to perform gum surgery in an attempt to restore the health of the gums. Gum surgery can vary from a gingivectomy to flap surgery to a gum graft. All of these surgeries may be painful and may require long healing times. At our office we have found an alternative method of treating periodontal disease that may allow you to avoid surgical options.
The Perio Protect Method
The Perio Protect Method uses medication delivered directly to the periodontal pockets to alter the environment and inhibit bacterial growth. Perio Protect uses custom fitted trays, called Perio Trays, which you wear for approximately 15 minutes at a time at prescribed intervals throughout the day. By placing the prescribed medication in these trays, the medicine is delivered directly to the periodontal pockets and held in place by the trays to maximize effectiveness.
Different levels of periodontal disease require different dosages and different medications. The most commonly used medication uses an oxidizing agent to create an oxygen rich environment not usually found in periodontal pockets. In this oxygen rich environment, the bacteria cannot survive. With repeated use, the bacteria population is able to be controlled.
When the periodontal disease has been allowed to progress, prior to treatment, plaque forms against the tooth surface and under the gum line. In these cases, scaling and root planning must occur prior to the using the Perio Protect Method. The scaling and root planning removes the plaque and the bacteria below the gum line. This opens up the pockets so that the medication can be placed directly into the pockets. Without this mechanical cleaning, the medication will take longer to work and more damage may be done by the bacteria.
Using the Perio Protect Method also opens up options for the dentist to treat bone loss caused by periodontal disease. Using the Perio Trays, the dentist can prescribe medication that can promote bone growth. Again, the Perio Trays hold the medication exactly where needed.
In severe cases of periodontal disease, the Perio Protect Method may not be able to forestall gum surgery. At our Evanston office, we use the Perio Protect Method first to arrest, treat, and heal as much of the periodontal disease as possible prior to recommending surgery.
What to Expect
When you decide to proceed with the Perio Protect Method, we will take a periocharting to measure the extent of your periodontal disease. We will also take alginate impressions of your teeth and gums. These impressions may be more through than impressions you have had in the past, as they need to include a good portion of your gums. At this time, the doctor will also prescribe and order your prescription from a compounding pharmacy. Your impressions are then sent to the Perio Protect Lab, where the Perio Trays are fabricated to exact specifications. About two weeks later, you will return to our office to receive your Perio Trays, prescriptions, and instructions. Our two Evanston dentists highly recommend that you return 6 weeks later for another exam. During this exam we will do another periochart to assess how Perio Protect is working for you. As your treatment progresses, your periodontal pockets will decrease in size which will cause your Perio Trays to not fit as well. When this occurs, we will take new impressions and have new trays made so that you can continue the healing process.
We don’t recommend Perio Protect for everyone. Some cases of periodontal disease respond very well to increased normal home care and Perioguard. For the cases that don’t respond well to these options, there is Perio Protect. If you have trouble controlling your periodontal disease, set up an appointment with one of our dentists to see if Perio Protect is right for you.