Scaling and Root Planing
Gum disease is incredibly common, affecting nearly half of all Americans. Because it tends to be painless, it tends to sneak up on people until it progresses to a more advanced and dangerous stage. If caught early, gum disease can be entirely reversed with a good oral hygiene regimen, but once it progresses, it requires more intensive treatment from us here at Platte Valley Dental Care. One way we help stop the progression of gum disease is through a process called scaling and root planing, which can help stop the progression of your gum disease in its tracks.
What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing?Gum disease can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the severity of your disease. If it’s an early stage of the disease, it’s known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can be cured by taking measures to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. Brushing twice a day and flossing can stop gingivitis, but once your gum disease progresses, it becomes a condition known as periodontitis. Periodontitis, unlike gingivitis, has no known cure and must be treated like a chronic disease, such as diabetes.
There are both surgical and non-surgical methods we employ to treat gum disease. The surgical options may include a gum graft or even a root canal for severe gum disease. A fantastic nonsurgical method of treating gum disease, however, is known as scaling and root planing. This helps remove the calculus (the hardened buildup that forms along your teeth and gumline) and gives your infected gums a chance to reattach to your teeth.
If you ever heard us call out numbers when we’re examining your teeth, then you’re already familiar with gum pockets. The deeper your pockets, the more your gum disease has progressed. These pockets form when the calculus builds up along your gumline, causing your gums to recede away from your teeth and the tooth root. With scaling and root planing, we can help reduce those deep pockets in your gums.
Scaling and root planing is the process of removing all of that calculus with either a manual tool or an ultrasonic device. What we do during a scaling and root planing is carefully remove all of the buildups from both your teeth and underneath your gums. The surface of your teeth and your roots are smoothed during the procedure, giving your swollen gums a chance to reattach to your tooth and roots, and not only stop the progression of your disease but promote healing.
While a scaling and root planing should not be painful, we will apply some local anesthesia to the site to help prevent any discomfort as we clean your teeth. You may experience a bit of discomfort and swelling immediately after the procedure, but as your gums start to heal, the inflammation will pass. We generally advise spreading the scaling and root planing over several appointments (generally one appointment per quadrant, so four appointments total) for your overall comfort.
If you suspect that you may have gum disease, or you’re interested in learning more about how scaling and root planing can help stop the gum disease from getting worse, we are always happy to answer your questions. To schedule an appointment with us here at Platte Valley Dental Care or for more information, please call us at (816) 858-2027 today!