The Perio Tray®: Non-Invasive Therapy For Gum Disease
We often take our gums for granted, expecting them to be healthy and happy and hold out teeth in place. Then we spot blood when we spit out the toothpaste after we brush, or blood on the floss when we floss.
Uh oh. What now?
Bleeding gums is one of the telltale early signs of gum disease, clinically known as periodontitis. When it comes to your oral health, periodontitis is one word you do not want to hear. At Hiebert Smith Dental Group, we’re all about keeping your gums, and the rest of your mouth, in good shape.
When it comes to dealing with gum disease, we often use an effective, easy-to-use tool called Perio Protect. This non-invasive treatment is used at home, taking just minutes a day, delivering medication below the gums where it is needed. Perio Protect adds home care to our treatment of gum disease for our patients from Saint Helens and the surrounding areas.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease isn’t exactly rare — it’s estimated that eight out of every 10 American adults has some degree of periodontitis. For many, this is in the early stages, but half of Americans have what’s classified as chronic gum disease, and that’s not a good statistic if you want to keep your teeth.
Gum disease starts with irritation, known as gingivitis, when tartar moves under the gum line. This irritation makes your gums bleed when brushing and flossing. If left unaddressed the bacteria begins to make the gums recede. Pockets form, which are perfect places for more bacteria to multiply. Now the bacteria begin to attack the tooth roots and the connective tissues. Now you’re in danger of losing your teeth.
Treatments for gum disease vary depending on the degree to which bacteria have invaded the gums and teeth. Dr. David Hiebert and Dr. Keri Smith may simply need to do some root scaling and planing to remove tartar that has crept under the gum line, or more dramatic treatments may be necessary. The goal is to avoid the need for periodontal surgery, which can be very painful and can result in tooth sensitivity. Plus, bacteria have a way of hanging around to infect the incisions.
We’ve found a great treatment to help our patients avoid surgery — Perio Protect.
What is Perio Protect?
Perio Pro is an innovative treatment for gum disease that the patient applies at home. Perio Protect uses custom-created trays to deliver bacteria-fighting peroxide into the pockets of the gums to kill the source of the infection. The patient simply fills his or her trays and wears them the prescribed amount of time each day. The treatment is completely non-invasive, repeatable, and effective.
Who would be a good candidate for Perio Protect?
When you’re here, Dr. Hiebert or Dr. Smith will examine your oral situation and tell you if you’re a good candidate for Perio Protect. This isn’t meant as a way to prevent gum disease: that’s diligent home hygiene with brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwashes. Perio Protect is a tool to use when you already have gum disease.
How does Perio Protect work, and what’s different about it?
This treatment is by prescription only; it’s not available over the counter. When we feel it’s a good option for you, we start by taking impressions of your teeth and bite. We send these to the Perio Protect laboratory, where your custom trays are fabricated. Similar to mouth guards, these trays are designed to effectively deliver medication below your gum line when you wear them. Perio Trays are effective because they have special internal seals that hold and deliver the medication where it is most effective, at the site of the infection below your gum line.
When your Perio Trays arrive in our Saint Helens offices, you come back in and we show you how to fill your trays with the medication. Only a small amount is needed. You then wear your trays for just a few minutes each day, usually for periods of 10-15 minutes. Most of our gum disease patients start initially with 2-3 Perio Tray applications each day. Once the infection is under control and the inflammation and gum bleeding decrease, we will usually move to you a single application every day to continue to manage your infection.
For some patients, Perio Protect can reduce the need for surgical intervention. For others, it can be a complementary treatment with traditional root scaling and root planing, even gum flap surgery. The ongoing application of the medication helps ensure the bacteria can’t return and get a new foothold. Once a patient has gum disease, it is a continuing threat moving forward.
What kind of results can Perio Protect achieve?
Some people, especially if they’ve had gum disease, struggle with returning infection. They brush and floss more diligently and attentively than before, but it sometimes isn’t enough. They have perennial bad breath that is a sign of bacteria returning.
The Perio Trays have a special internal seal that delivers the bacteria-killing peroxide where toothbrushes and floss cannot reach. In research, Perio Protect has reduced gum bleeding by 75 percent. In a controlled clinical trial, 100 percent of patients surveyed after being placed on Perio Protect treatment said they would recommend the treatment to others.
The hydrogen peroxide you place in the Perio Trays has two roles. First, it kills bacteria. Peroxide is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, meaning it kills various bacterial species in the gum pockets. Antibiotic treatments often can only target specific strains. Also, the bubbles from the hydrogen peroxide are releasing oxygen deep into the pockets. This creates a healthier environment for bacterial growth, so healthy bacteria (which your mouth is full of at all times) can repopulate and exclude bad, pathogenic bacteria.
Is there any recovery after Perio Protect treatment?
Unlike gum surgery, using your Perio Trays is simple and completely non-invasive. There isn’t any recovery after you wear your trays. You simply wear them for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Afterwards, you can do whatever you please.
Are there side effects with Perio Protect?
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural occurring substance in your body. In fact, your body makes peroxide in your liver, and your white blood cells use it to fight infection. There aren’t any side effects or complications with these treatments.
Is Perio Protect covered by my dental insurance?
All insurance providers can be variable in what they cover, but we’ve had good success with gaining insurance coverage for Perio Protect. We work with your insurance company to achieve the highest level of coverage possible, but it is a good idea to inquire directly with your provider.
“NW Heights dental is the very best! Dr. Keri Smith has been my doctor for years. Her entire team are always warm, friendly and provide a relaxing professional environment. Her practice is modern with the latest technology compared to other dentists I had in the past. I won’t go anywhere else.” – P W.
“The doctors, hygienists, and staff are kind, friendly, and incredibly professional. My entire family loves both Dr. Smith and Dr. Hiebert!” – L.Y.