SCALING AND ROOT PLANING
What causes Periodontal Disease?
Plaque includes a film of bacteria that attaches to teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque cause irritation of the tissues that support your teeth. This irritation can lead to chronic inflammation, bleeding and infection that can destroy your gum and bone tissue.
How do periodontal diseases develop?
Periodontitis can irreversibly damage the gums, bones and other structure that support the teeth and it can lead to tooth loss. However, treatment can help. At more advanced stages, the disease may require more complex treatment to prevent tooth loss. In the worst case, teeth can become loose and need to be removed by the dentist. How periodontitis is treated often depends on how far the condition has progressed and how well your body responds to therapy over time. Periodontal diseases are most often progressive – left untreated, the condition often becomes worse.
How are periodontal diseases diagnosed?
If gum disease is diagnosed, your dentist may provide treatment, or you may be referred to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases.
How are periodontal diseases treated?
The first non-surgical step usually involves a special cleaning called scaling and root planing. This is sometimes referred to as “periodontal” or “deep” cleaning. Scaling and root planing is a method of treating periodontal disease when pockets are greater than 3mm. Scaling is used to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gum line. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Using an insurance called a small scaler or an ultrasonic cleaner, plaque and tartar are carefully removed down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. The tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed or planed. This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and periodontal pockets to shrink. The procedure also makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces.
Depending on the extent of the disease, your dentist may recommend that one or more sections (quadrants) of the mouth be treated with scaling and root planing. Treatment requires one or more visits. You’ll be given instructions on how to care for your healing teeth and gums.
Once the scaling and root planing treatment is complete, another appointment will be made within a few weeks. At this appointment, the dentist will examine your gums to see how they have healed and how the periodontal pockets have decreased. Many patients do not require any further active treatment, only preventative care.
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