You’re probably aware that a sticky layer called plaque can develop on your teeth, but did you know it could also accumulate beneath your gums? If you do not practice proper oral hygiene, bacteria and debris can collect under your gums and cause infection. This is called periodontal disease. Unless it is properly handled with restorative dentistry treatments, gum disease can advance, putting your teeth at risk and interfering with your general well-being. In addition to providing preventive care at our Bloomington dental practice, Dr. Bell and Dr. Crocker often recommend root planing and scaling for patients suffering from periodontal disease. By removing accumulated plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) at and under your gum line, we can fight bacteria and give your mouth a fresh, healthy start.
Gum Disease and Your Health
Periodontal infection can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as inflammation, bleeding, and sensitivity, but it can also substantially affect your general well-being. Studies show that patients who suffer from gum disease are at higher risk for:
- Complications from diabetes
- Pancreatic, blood, and kidney cancers
- Respiratory conditions
- Heart disease
In addition, if the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis, an advanced infection in which your gums may begin to pull away from and destabilize surrounding teeth.
Who Is a Candidate for Root Planing and Scaling?
Dr. Bell or Dr. Crocker typically recommend this treatment for patients with mild to moderate gum disease. You may be able to reverse the early stages of gingivitis by simply improving your oral healthcare habits. If your periodontal disease is more advanced or severe, root planing and scaling may not be a strong enough treatment. You may need oral surgery to treat your infection and restore your oral health. If you have a compromised immune system, suffer from a heart condition, or have recently undergone surgery, this treatment may not be appropriate for you.
What Happens During this Treatment?
Root planing and scaling is basically a deep cleaning for the tooth surfaces beneath your gums. To begin your procedure, we will administer local anesthesia to numb your gums and keep you comfortable during the process. Then, we will use a thin metal tool to scrape away the plaque and tartar that have collected beneath your gums. We may also use an ultrasonic tool to break apart plaque with vibration and remove any remaining debris with water. Scaling refers to eliminating plaque and tartar, while root planing involves smoothing the surface of your tooth’s root enamel so that bacteria cannot collect there as easily. Depending on the extent of your infection, we may also apply antibiotic medications beneath your gums during this treatment. Root planing and scaling typically takes between one and three hours. It can usually be completed in a single visit, but some patients may require multiple appointments to finish their deep cleaning.
Your gums may feel tender or sore for several days following your procedure. We may ask you to use a special mouthwash to help your gums heal and prevent infection from returning. Most importantly, you will need to brush and floss regularly and attend your routine cleanings and exams to preserve your gum health.
Maintain Healthy Gums
To learn more about root planing and scaling or schedule a routine cleaning appointment to preserve your oral health, please contact our cosmetic and restorative dental practice today.