Friday, October 18, 2013

Subgingival Irrigation

Subgingival irrigation (flushing) of the periodontal tissues is a nonsurgical, additional treatment for periodontal (gum) disease.

In a healthy mouth, there is a crevice or ditch-like space around every tooth called a sulcus.  We have an instrument called a periodontal probe to gently measure the sulcus space.  The sulcus should measure between 1 and 3 millimeters, and no bleeding or pain should occur during probing.  Gum tissue should be tightly attached to the bone surrounding each tooth.  When the gum tissue is infected and periodontal disease is present, the tissues become red and swollen.  When the sulcus is over 3 millimeters, it is difficult, if not impossible, to keep the bacteria levels under control with normal oral self-care.

 Professional Subgingival Irrigation

Subgingival irrigation may aid in the removal of debris, bacteria, and toxins that cannot be routinely removed with normal oral self-care.  A stream of fluid under slight pressure is delivered under the gum tissue to the appropriate site(s).  The area is flushed out.  The irrigation in the office is usually done with an antimicrobial that has a substantive effect: the molecules of the antimicrobial cling to your teeth and tissues and keep working for hours after the subgingival irrigation is completed.  Water or other chemicals can also be used.  If you are told that subgingival irrigation should be part of your daily oral self-care routine, you will be instructed in the proper solution to use.

If the subgingival irrigation is properly accomplished, you can remove a high percentage of problem bacteria and toxins out of the sulcus that cannot be reached with normal care efforts.  The flushed and disturbed area should show a reduced level of bacteria.  It may take a while for the bacteria and debris to build up to a level where they can again cause further or continued problems.


Subgingival irrigation is not a substitute for excellent oral self-care or for periodontal surgery, but it is another modality we can use in the treatment or prevention of periodontal disease.  If you are in active initial periodontal therapy, the subgingival irrigation will be a part of your treatment.  If you are in maintenance, it may be part of the routine treatment rendered when you come in for your recare appointment.  If we recommend that you perform this procedure daily as part of your normal oral self-care, you will receive further instructions.

If you have any questions about subgingival irrigation, please feel free to ask us at (512)250-5012. -Omni Dental Group


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