Scaling & Root Planning
You are used to going to the dentist every six months and hearing that you are doing an excellent job keeping up with your oral health. Then, suddenly, out of the blue your dentist tells you that you have gum disease. What? How? But you brush two times a day and floss every day, how could this happen?
Bacteria, plaque, acids and foods that we eat can all contribute to the development of periodontal gum disease. So, now what?
Periodontal Gum Disease
First off, let's discuss exactly what periodontal gum disease is and why it is a threat to your oral health.
Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums marked by inflammation, redness, tenderness and frequent bleeding. If left untreated, periodontal disease will wreak havoc on the gums, teeth and bone of the mouth. Luckily, two procedures exist that can help to reverse the effects of periodontal gum disease: dental scaling and root planing.
What is Dental Scaling?
Dental scaling may be performed with ultrasonic instruments, manual instruments or a combination of both. The procedure involves first a thorough examination of the mouth, teeth and gums. From there your periodontist will proceed to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar from the crown of the teeth with sonic vibrations from the ultrasonic instruments. Next, your periodontist will remove any remaining plaque and calculus that the sonic vibrations left behind. The dental scaling process removes all plaque, tartar and biofilm buildup from the crown down to the gums.
What is Root Planing?
The process of root planing refers to a procedure in which a periodontist scales, below the gum line, the root of the tooth. Root planing is performed in an effort to reduce inflammation and irritation by removing rough irritating surfaces.
Will Scaling and Planing Hurt?
If you suffer from periodontal disease, it is likely that your gums are already tender and sensitive to the touch. If this is the case, local anesthesia can be administered to help ease the discomfort. After the procedure if you are experiencing sensitivity it might be recommended to you to use a special toothpaste formulated for people with sensitive teeth.
When it comes to treatment for periodontal gum disease, there is no treatment that is quite as effective as scaling and planing. Dental scaling and root planing clean on, around and in between the teeth down to the root. Dental scaling and root planing is done on patients who have periodontal gum disease, patients whose gums are receding (or pulling back away from the tooth), and on patients who have hard calculus buildup below the gum line. Scaling and planing is the most effective way to reduce the effects of periodontal disease and to prevent further damage from occurring.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of periodontal gum disease will enable you to catch the disease before it gets out of hand. Additionally, routine dental checkups and proper oral care can help to prevent the onset of the highly destructive periodontal disease.