Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems in the world. This inflammatory condition occurs when the soft tissue of the gums becomes infected, usually as a result of poor dental health. Without treatment, this progressive condition can become painful and lead to receding gums, tooth loss, bone deterioration, and worse. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help to overcome gum disease. One of these is scaling and root planing.
Scaling and Root Planing: An Overview
Scaling and root planing is a common, non-surgical dental procedure that is recommended for people who have moderate to severe gum disease, and since it is quite invasive, patients are almost always given local anesthetic while it is being performed. In some instances, it is also possible for patients to be sedated if they are particularly nervous or anxious about the procedure.
The first element of the procedure is the scaling, during which your dentist will use special tools to remove any plaque or tartar that has accumulated on your teeth. Plaque is the clear, sticky film that forms on the teeth, while tartar is plaque that has hardened into brown or yellow deposits. Both plaque and tartar are responsible for the development of gum disease. Once these have been removed, your dentist will address your periodontal pockets. These are virtually microscopic gaps that appear between your teeth and gums as a result of gum disease. They may be tiny, but they can trap bacteria and food debris, causing them to become larger and infected. Your dentist will clear them out using tiny tools. In some instances, it may be necessary for your dentist to place antibiotic fibers into them which will help to eradicate any infection. These can then be removed around a week later.
The second element of the procedure is the root planing, which focuses on smoothening all of the rough surfaces of the roots of your affected teeth. This is necessary if the gums are going to have any chance of reattaching to the teeth, closing the periodontal pockets, and preventing gum recession. It also makes it more difficult for plaque and tartar to form on the teeth and cause more problems in the future.
It’s normal for your teeth to be a little sore and uncomfortable for a few days after scaling and root planing. Your dentist will want to see you again to check how your gums have healed following the procedure, usually around two weeks later.
Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing
There are a number of benefits associated with scaling and root planing. Some of the most significant include:
Reducing your risk of gum disease progression. Gum disease is a progressive condition that means that without treatment, it will get worse. If this happens, you’ll experience a range of unpleasant effects, from gum recession and painful infections to tooth loss and bone deterioration.
Improved overall oral and general health. Advanced gum disease has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. By reducing your risk of gum disease with scaling and root planing, you can also reduce the likelihood that you will develop these other health conditions.
A stunning smile. Everyone wants to feel confident about the appearance of their smile. However, when you have gum disease, your gums can look swollen, red, and sore. In moderate to severe gum disease, the gums can pull away from the teeth, causing them to look abnormally long too. Scaling and root planing can improve the overall appearance of your smile by removing superficial staining and unsightly plaque and tartar, as well as getting any gum inflammation under control.
If you would like more information about scaling and root planing, or to schedule an appointment to discuss whether you would benefit from this procedure, please contact our dedicated dental team in Brooklyn NY today at (646) 863-4810.