Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing
Most people tend to think more about the state of their teeth than the health of their gums, but the two are obviously connected, and the fact is that gingivitis and periodontal disease are the most frequent causes of lost teeth. Even worse, gum problems can have a seriously adverse impact on an individual’s overall health, increasing the risk of heart disease and other serious health threats. At Smile Atelier Beverly Hills, we want patients to understand the signs that point to periodontal problems and to understand that there’s a lot that can be done to treat all types of gum disease.
Gum Care Basics
The first and most important aspect of caring for your gums is basic dental hygiene, i.e., regular and thorough brushing and flossing. The next important thing is to keep a close eye on your gums to look for any of the following signs of possible trouble. These may include:
- Bleeding gums
- Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
- Gum pain
- Gums that look swollen or unusually red
- Discharge from gums
- Loosening of teeth or any unusual change in their appearance
- Receding gums (appearing to separate from teeth)
If you see any of these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately and tell her about your situation. After a thorough examination, she will suggest any of a number of steps, from deep cleaning to oral surgery, that will typically be able to restore the health of gums as well as teeth.
Preventing Periodontal Issues
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of periodontal issues that means thorough and regular (twice daily) brushing and flossing. It also means regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings to deal with plaque and other issues that even the most thorough individual will usually miss.
Whether you are concerned about possible periodontal issues, or want to make sure you avoid them entirely, it’s up to you to maintain a relationship with a qualified dentist. If you have not had a dental appointment within the last six months or longer, now is the time to get started.
Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing
Periodontal scaling and root planing are procedures used to treat periodontal disease. Thought of by many as a ‘deep cleaning’, this in-office procedure involves the careful removal of hardened plaque near the gum line, where harmful bacteria can grow and cause damage to both the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. The treatment starts with scaling, during which special instruments are used to scrape tartar away from the teeth and gums. Root planing follows, which is a process of smoothing the surface of the tooth’s root in order to prevent bacteria from accumulating there in the future. Finally, an antibiotic is administered to ensure that no bacteria remain at the treatment site.
Did you know…
that you cannot brush or rinse away hardened plaque that causes periodontal disease? The only thing you can do is prevent is from accumulating by using good brushing and flossing habits. Once tartar has formed, the only way to remove it is via a professional dental or periodontal cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a periodontal scaling and root planing?
You may need scaling and root planing if you are suffering from mild to moderate periodontal disease. Visit your dentist for an exam if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, such as inflamed or receding gums, chronic halitosis, or loose teeth. If your periodontal disease is advanced, you may require grafting or flap surgery.
What should I expect during a scaling and root planing?
If you require a scaling and root planing, you’ll first be made comfortable – perhaps using a local anesthetic. You should feel little or no discomfort other than the sensation of the cleaning tools scraping away hardened plaque. Procedure lengths vary according to the extent of the disease and the areas it is located within the mouth. If your periodontal disease is widespread, you may need to spread out your treatment into multiple visits.
Will I need to follow any special post-treatment care instructions?
Yes. You’ll need to follow all instructions for antibiotic usage following your treatment. You’ll also be advised to avoid certain habits that can cause recurrences of periodontal disease in the future, such as smoking. Most patients experience little or no discomfort after scaling and root planing, although your mouth may continue to be numb for several hours following the procedure.