With regular checkups at our office and proper dental hygiene at home, you can keep free of gum disease.When it comes to your oral health, proper oral hygiene and regular checkups at our dental office can help prevent gum disease. Even if the early symptoms of gum disease don't seem to cause any pain, prompt…
Scaling and Root Planing to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Two major types of dental deep cleaning procedures are scaling and root planing. These procedures are performed when a patient has chronic periodontal disease caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Gums can become inflamed when tartar and plaque extend below the gumline. Root planing and scaling allow a dentist to remove these materials, giving periodontal tissues a chance to heal.
According to the American Dental Association, nearly half of all adults over 30 have chronic gum disease. This can cause complications such as tooth loss and infection that spreads to other areas of the body. Scaling and root planing can help to resolve gum disease before it becomes severe.
What happens during the procedures?
Scaling and root planing may be accomplished during a single appointment or may require several visits to complete. Traditional dental tools are often used for these procedures. However, new developments have resulted in alternative tools such as lasers or ultrasonic technology to perform the same tasks. These new tools can provide more comfort for the patient, but dentists may only use the new technology under certain circumstances.
Plaque is a sticky film consisting of acid and bacteria that builds up on teeth. Tartar is plaque that has hardened, making it more difficult to remove. Each can cause gum disease if it extends below the gumline. This can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets where more bacteria can collect.
Scaling involves reaching below the gumline of the teeth with tools to remove the plaque and tartar that has collected there. A traditional scaling tool is a thin piece of metal resembling a hook with a handle attached. The hooked component is the part that goes below the gumline.
If the roots of the tooth are rough after scaling, it provides more places for bacteria to attach. This can prevent healing from gum disease. Root planing involves making the roots of the teeth smooth to prevent this from happening. Like scaling, it involves inserting a tool, usually a curette, beneath the gumline. The tool then is applied to the roots of the tooth to smooth them.
What happens after scaling and root planing?
To prevent infection and help speed healing, the dentist may insert antibiotic fibers into the pockets between the teeth and gums. These fibers should not remain in place indefinitely. Patients should make another appointment for about a week after the initial procedure(s) to have the fibers removed.
The patient has a responsibility to practice good oral hygiene following the planing and scaling to prevent recurrent gum disease. This involves flossing daily and brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Patients should also refrain from smoking and ask the dentist about using an antimicrobial mouthwash. If oral hygiene is maintained, the affected gum tissue should heal and start reattaching itself to the teeth.
Gum disease can cause serious complications, such as infection and tooth loss. Scaling and root planing can help prevent it from becoming worse.
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