Non-Surgical Treatments


No rinse, when simply swished around in the mouth, reaches below the gum line, where the periodontal infection is located. They may have some benefit when used immediately after a professional cleaning or scaling/root planing to slow down the re-growth of plaque under the gum line. There are prescription rinses, rinses dispensed by dental offices and rinses you can purchase in your supermarket. Rinses containing chlorhexidine have been scientifically shown to kill plaque on teeth. Unfortunately, they tend to stain the teeth a dark color. We use these rinses as a pre-surgical rinse or as a post surgical rinse after implant placement or whenever foreign graft materials are placed in the mouth. Otherwise, Listerine is the only other product with stronger scientific evidence supporting its use. All others have few or poorly designed studies, or only manufacturer-sponsored studies showing effectiveness. We do not use them and have no recommendation for their use.


Irrigation with various chemical solutions has also been recommended for treatment of persistent pockets. Scientific studies have shown professional irrigation rarely reaches the depths of periodontal pockets and patient-attempted irrigation is even less effective. We have seen several cases where patient-attempted irrigation has resulted in significant, self-inflicted injury. We do not recommend irrigation for our patients.