Periodontal and Gum Disease Therapy

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We offer periodontal therapy at Great Northern Dental Care. Periodontal disease refers to a range of conditions ranging from gum inflammation to severe inflammation that damages the bone and tissue supporting your teeth. Periodontal disease can result in gum recession, tooth mobility, and even tooth loss. The inflammation is caused by your body’s immune response to the certain types of bacteria in the plaque film that accumulates on your teeth. 

Periodontal disease is classified by the seriousness of the disease; the two major categories are gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontitis often goes untreated because it may not cause pain.

Good news! Reducing inflammation in your mouth is good for your whole body! Since gum disease is linked to increased risk for stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes complications, and others, regular cleanings are super important! Call or text Great Northern Dental Care at (406) 257-5696. We can assess your cleaning needs and help you maintain a healthy smile!

What is Periodontal Disease?

Infection and inflammation that affect the tissues and supporting bone of your teeth are known as periodontal disease, some people call it gum disease or “pyorrhea.” Proper periodontal treatment and maintenance are crucial to retaining your teeth. Gum tissue can react by becoming inflamed and red, or receding and exposing root surfaces. 

Symptoms are not always obvious and pain may not be a problem. If the periodontal disease progresses and is not treated, supporting bone may be lost causing teeth to shift, loosen and eventually fall out. When this happens, it affects eating, speaking, and your overall health. Appearance may be affected also.


Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection of the gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can progress slowly in some patients and very quickly in others. Periodontal disease affects one or more of the periodontal tissues: alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, cementum, or gingiva (gums). The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and it is typically easier to treat, especially in the early stages. Gingivitis that is not treated will most generally progress to the more serious “periodontitis” if not treated.

Periodontal Therapy for Gum Disease

When you brush your teeth, you’re cleaning the visible surfaces. Dental scaling and root planing is periodontal therapy in the form of a deeper cleaning. Dental scaling gets rid of all plaque and tartar above and below the gumline, and root planing smooths out any uneven areas on the surfaces of tooth roots so that bacteria will have a harder time sticking and gum tissue will be able to heal effectively.


This kind of deep cleaning has been described as the gold standard of treatment for patients with gum disease. To get the gums healthy again, all that gunk needs to be cleaned out, which is what dental scaling and root planing does. 


While routine scaling helps prevent gum disease, scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for existing gum disease. In cases of severe periodontitis, it may be recommended before gum surgery. 

Why Would You Need Periodontal Therapy?

Periodontitis (advanced gum disease), is caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Plaque is constantly forming on our teeth, but without proper cleaning, the bacteria in plaque can cause the gums to become inflamed. 


If left untreated, they will begin to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets where the bacteria can breed. At this point, it becomes extremely difficult (if not impossible) to remove the bacteria with regular brushing and flossing alone, and there’s a risk of bone and tooth loss. Dr. Jarvis would recommend scaling and root planing to combat periodontitis.

Scaling and Root Planing Treatment

Scaling and root planning is a two-part procedure to treat periodontitis. Scaling is when Dr. Jarvis removes all of the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gumline, cleaning all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Dr. Jarvis then begins the second phase of treatment, which is root planning. 


Root planing involves smoothing out the dental roots to help the gums reattach. Planing helps the root surfaces become smooth, which keeps bacteria, plaque, and tartar from re-adhering underneath the gumline. The process may take more than one appointment to make sure that your teeth are clean and healthy.

Post-Treatment Tips for Periodontal Therapy

When you see Dr. Jarvis for follow-up treatments, he will want to check on the healing of your teeth and gums. In most cases, patients who had red or swollen gums find that their gums turn pink again and they experience little to no bleeding. If your gums respond well and remain stable, you won’t need any further periodontal therapy.

Great Northern Dental Care - periodontal therapy

If you don't have dental insurance, Great Northern Dental Care has excellent news!

We have created our Great Northern Smile Club specifically to help our uninsured patients. For a low monthly subscription fee, Great Northern Dental Care will provide you and/or your family with preventative care and 10% off most restorative services.