Although the notion of undergoing oral surgery may cause anxiety in some patients, the benefits of this effective procedure can last a lifetime. With innovative techniques, the dental surgery process has become easier for patients than ever. Of all the surgical procedures performed on the oral cavity, tooth extractions, dental implants and corrective surgery stand…
What Is Scaling and Root Planing?
Scaling and root planing is used to address periodontal disease. Commonly called gum disease, it is caused by plaque accumulating on teeth surfaces. Some of this plaque makes its way into the gumline, where it prompts a response from the immune system. This leads to swelling of the gums and the deterioration of the structures that hold teeth in place.
Gum disease can be reversed in its early stage, when it is called gingivitis. Improved oral hygiene and teeth cleanings can help stop the condition in its tracks. A quality antibacterial mouthwash can also be beneficial when it comes to fighting periodontal disease.
Why you need scaling and root planing
About half of adults over 30 in the U.S. have advanced gum disease. For these people, good oral hygiene is not enough to stop the disease from progressing further. Treatments like scaling and root planing have been proven to be effective at removing plaque and tartar from beneath the gum line.
The procedure consists of two main parts. The term "scaling" refers to when the dentist uses a scraper to remove tartar and plaque from teeth roots. Tartar is calcified plaque and cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. A unique tool called a scaler is used to get rid of any tartar on the patient's teeth roots. Prior to the treatment, a local anesthetic is administered to numb the area that will be worked on.
Once the patient's teeth roots have been thoroughly cleaned, the dentist will proceed to the "planing" part of the treatment. This involves smoothing out the teeth roots, making it harder for tartar and plaque to accumulate there in the future. The smoothing of the roots also makes it easier for the gums to be reattached.
Recovering from scaling and root planing
Patients who undergo this treatment might experience sensitivity and pain the first week after getting it. Their gums might bleed a little, feel tender or swell up. The dentist might prescribe a mouth rinse that helps prevent infection. Medication may also be applied to the patient's periodontal pockets.
The dentist will schedule a follow-up visit so they can evaluate how well the patient is recovering from the treatments. The dentist will measure the deepness of the person's periodontal pockets to determine if further treatment is necessary. The treatment might need to be repeated if these pockets have grown deeper.
Good oral hygiene goes a long way when it comes to preventing gum disease from getting worse. People with this condition should make it a priority to establish good oral hygiene. Teeth should be brushed twice each day with a soft toothbrush, and interdental spaces should be cleaned daily with floss. Eating a healthy diet also helps keep gums healthy and infection free. People who use tobacco products should consider quitting if they have been diagnosed with gum disease.
Get the treatment you need
Dealing with gum disease? Stop by our Lubbock clinic to learn more about how the condition is treated and what your options are.
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