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What is Periodontal Therapy

What Is Periodontal Therapy?

Periodontal disease, whether in the early stages of gingivitis or as advanced periodontitis, is a pervasive condition. In fact, nearly half of all adults have some form of this chronic inflammatory disease. Left untreated, patients experience tooth loss and may be at greater risk for systemic issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Given these implications, being proactive in having symptoms evaluated and receiving preventive periodontal care is essential.

There are two main types of periodontal disease: inflammatory and occlusion (bite) based.  Indications of either disease variant are often painless and symptomless, leaving the patient unaware that any issues are going on.

Inflammatory Periodontal Disease is primarily caused by bacteria that collect underneath the tissue and adhere to the root surface. This is called calculus and attaches to the roots like barnacles on a ship. This bacterial growth works its way progressively deeper underneath the tissue and causes bone loss. Ultimately, this bone loss causes tooth mobility, recession, and finally, tooth loss.

Occlusion-Based Disease is the least diagnosed and least understood type of periodontal disease.  Excessive force applied to teeth from a malocclusion, clenching, or nighttime grinding can cause as much or more bone loss as an inflammatory disease caused by bacteria.  Inflammatory gum disease accelerates occlusion-based bone loss and vice versa, and this destructive combination is rarely diagnosed by or treated at most periodontal offices. Dr. Heinzelmann’s background in occlusion influences his periodontal therapy for increased success.  The usual treatment for occlusion-based disease is modifying and improving the bite and often the construction of a nightguard, which absorbs the excessive forces at night when they are most destructive.

Dr. Karl Heinzelmann is a periodontist with more than 30 years of experience diagnosing periodontal concerns and providing treatment that slows down or halts disease progression. His approach to periodontal therapy includes several surgical and non-surgical solutions, recommended based on severity and his patients’ unique circumstances. He and his team are dedicated to helping patients in Roswell, Alpharetta, and North Atlanta enjoy a life free from the ravages of gum disease.

Non-Surgical Treatment at Our Roswell Practice

Dr. Heinzelmann uses proven, minimally-invasive methods to control mild-to-moderate disease and preserve existing periodontal health. One of the more common, non-surgical treatments our office offers is scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). Colonization of harmful oral bacteria is a main contributing factor for gum disease, tooth loss, and, when these spread beyond the gingiva, systemic infections. Deep cleaning removes the build-up of bacterial plaque and tartar above and below the gum line before there’s an opportunity for these to advance into larger concerns.

Early detection and treatment is the key and cases in the earliest stages can be eliminated with this minor, non-surgical treatment.  Non-surgical methods such as deep cleaning, reinforcement of plaque control, and occlusion modification, if necessary, are used first for all cases. Only cases that do not respond favorably to the non-surgical treatment progress to the next level of therapy.

Once a patient has developed gum disease, there is a chance of recurrence. This makes ongoing periodontal maintenance a key component of our proactive approach. During recall appointments, we will assess the clinical condition of your gums, conduct a full-mouth radiographic review and complete occlusal examination, as well as check pocket depths to make sure your oral health is still on the right track. Should we uncover an area of concern, Dr. Heinzelmann’s experience and the state-of-the-art diagnostic technology at our office allow us to formulate an appropriate plan of action quickly.

Periodontal Surgery with Dr. Heinzelmann

Whether as a way to comprehensively treat sites of advanced disease or to enhance the success of other restorative procedures, surgery is sometimes the most viable option. Before proceeding with surgical treatment, particularly if implants are part of the plan, a 3-D CAT scan is taken. This imaging technology gives Dr. Heinzelmann a greater diagnostic range and reveals structures undetected by traditional X-rays.

A full range of surgical procedures is done at this office.  Some of the more frequently performed procedures include:

Periodontal Pocket Reduction – This surgical approach is taken when prophylactic treatment and deep cleaning with ultrasonic instruments aren’t enough to comprehensively eliminate bacterial plaque and calculus. By gaining direct access to the tooth root surface, Dr. Heinzelmann can reduce inflammation, intercept the spread of oral bacteria, and prevent loss of jaw bone.

Extraction - When it is necessary to remove a tooth, it is important for it to be removed as carefully as possible. Taking a deliberate approach maximizes the amount of original bone that is preserved while promoting a gentle, comfortable experience for patients. With only rare exceptions, Dr. Heinzelmann places osseous grafts at the time of extraction to regenerate as much lost bone as possible.

Osseous Grafts – During an extraction procedure, Dr. Heinzelmann performs osseous grafting in the surgical site. This is due to the fact that soft tissue regenerates at a higher rate than bone, which can complicate proper healing and leave an insufficient amount of hard tissue behind for implant placement. Adding grafting material to the socket at the time of extraction eliminates the need for additional procedures and, like ridge augmentation, creates a better site for a dental implant.

Ridge Augmentation – When a tooth is missing for any amount of time, the underlying bone is progressively resorbed. This process creates changes in the alveolar ridge that affect occlusion, socket integrity, and facial appearance. The longer this goes on, the more limited restorative options become. Our periodontist performs ridge augmentation in an attempt to regenerate lost bone and ensure the success of future prosthetic procedures.

Crown Lengthening - When a tooth is very broken down and there is not enough of the original structure left to hold a restoration, a procedure known as a crown lengthening is performed. This periodontal treatment increases the length of the clinical crown by lowering the tissue level, which in turn makes the tooth longer so the restoring dentist can restore.

Other main areas of treatment:

Cosmetic Surgery (see cosmetic surgery section

  • Cosmetic Tissue Contouring
  • Tissue Grafts
  • Frenectomy
  • Ridge Augmentation
  • Crown Lengthening

Implantology (see implant section)


  • Exam and Diagnosis
  • Nightguard/Splint Therapy
  • Occlusion Modification

Full Mouth Reconstruction

Have questions about periodontal therapy? Contact Periodontics and Dental Implants of Roswell!Have Questions? 
Contact Periodontics and Dental Implants of Roswell Today!

If swollen and tender gums, loose teeth, or persistent bad breath have become part of your everyday life, you owe it to yourself to seek treatment. Dr. Heinzelmann welcomes the opportunity to share his expertise with patients, both by skillfully performing advanced periodontal procedures and educating patients about their oral health at large.


To learn more about periodontal or implant therapy and the options we have available for patients throughout Roswell, Alpharetta, and North Atlanta, call and schedule a consultation today

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Office Location

  • Roswell
  • 11775 Pointe Place
  • Suite 104
  • Roswell, GA
  • 30076
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  • Call: 770-475-3398