One of the most common regular dental procedures is a deep clean. Dentists may recommend a scaling and root planing procedure as part of a regular clean. This procedure is designed to help treat periodontal, or gum disease.
Scaling and root planing can help to keep your mouth healthy while stopping the harmful effects of gum disease.
Chronic periodontal disease comes from the bacteria in plaque that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. As a result, large pockets form between the teeth and gums allowing space for more bacteria to grow. These pockets cannot be reached by standard brushing and flossing at home. Scaling and root planing is a treatment for gum disease that prevents its worsening effects over time.
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What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal, or gum disease is an increasingly common dental complaint. It is preventable as long as patients are able to undergo a proper oral hygiene routine. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause other issues to develop such as;
- Swollen and bleeding gums
- Jaw bone deterioration
- Tooth loss
In order to mitigate these risks, you should schedule an appointment to discuss scaling and root planing treatment with Dr. I. Stephen Brown who will help you to avoid these risks taking hold.
What is Scaling and Root Planing?
The scaling and root planing procedure involves removing small amounts of cementum and dentin from the teeth. Root planing is needed to help the gums to reattach to the teeth effectively.
Dr. Brown will divide the procedure into four sections of the mouth- lower right, lower left, upper right, upper left. If all four quadrants require treatment, he will likely carry out the treatments over several appointments.
Why do I need Scaling and Root Planing?
There are several reasons why patients with gum disease should consider scaling and root planing as gum disease treatment:
- For healthy teeth- As gums continue to recede, the risks associated with periodontal disease are increased. As the areas around the teeth become wider, bacteria makes its home in the gaps, and the body responds with inflammation- the gums will then become sore and red. The inflammation will begin to destroy the gum tissue which is designed to protect and hold teeth in place.
- For a healthy body- Gum disease may be linked to other health risks including heart attacks and strokes. The scaling and root planing procedure helps to keep the gums clear from harmful plaque deposits, preventing the growth of bacteria traveling into the bloodstream.
- To prevent bad breath- bad breath (halitosis) that is hard to mask with mouthwash products is caused by bacteria found below the gum line. The scaling and root planing procedure helps to clear away this bacteria, thus meaning you can have cleaner, fresher breath.
- For a brighter smile- Scaling and root planing may help to remove staining on the teeth, making your smile brighter and more aesthetically pleasing.
What Happens During a Scaling and Root Planing Procedure?
Dr. Brown will begin by using a local anesthetic to numb the area of the mouth he is working on. If more than one area is being treated, then he will likely numb one area at a time to prevent the anesthetic from wearing off too soon.
Using a curved instrument, we will then begin the scaling procedure, and planing the roots of any debris left in the periodontal pockets. The curved tool is designed to fit into the space between the teeth and gums. For faster results, we may opt to use an electronic ultrasonic scaler.
The procedure may require more than one appointment to complete, depending on how many of your teeth require scaling and root planing.
Following the procedure, Dr. Brown will ask you to attend another appointment a few weeks later. During the follow-up appointment, he will check your gums and make an assessment of how effective the treatment was in treating the gum disease.
What Can I Expect Following a Scaling and Root Planing Procedure?
After the completed treatment, less redness, swelling, and gum bleeding can be expected. However, immediately following the scaling and root planing treatments, you may experience some discomfort during the recovery process. These may include;
- Pain and/or discomfort- Although pain and discomfort following the procedure is to be expected, it should subside within a few days. You will likely experience a slight aching or throbbing which may become uncomfortable, but that will last only a few hours. Pain from tooth brushing will usually last from one to three days.
- Imperfect appearance- As the inflammation subsides, the surface of the root may become more exposed and may result in spaces between the teeth before they are bonded to the gum again.
- Bleeding while brushing- You may experience some bleeding while brushing your teeth. This should subside within two to three days following the procedure.
- Increased tooth sensitivity- Your teeth may become increasingly sensitive to overly sweet, hot, or cold foods for the first few days following the treatment.
- Fever- Although uncommon, some patients may develop a low-grade fever following the scaling and root planing procedure. Hydrate and take over the counter fever medication until the symptoms subside.
How Can I Minimize these Symptoms?
One of the most important things to do during recovery is to take care of what you’re eating for several weeks following the procedure. Be sure to avoid foods that are crunchy, hard, or that can get stuck in small gaps.
Eat protein rich foods that can help to aid recovery such as yoghurt, cheese, and eggs. When chewing becomes more comfortable, you can begin to reintroduce harder, chewier foods.
Over-the-counter medication can help to ease pain or discomfort during recovery, in addition to using a softer toothbrush with desensitising toothpaste.
Dr Brown will be able to guide you through the recovery process as part of your treatment.
If you wish to discuss scaling and root planing treatment for gum disease, Contact us in order to start taking your first steps toward better teeth and gums today!
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