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Scaling and Root Planing
Periodontal disease is an extremely common condition, affecting nearly half of the adult American population. Caused by the buildup of bacteria on your teeth and along your gumline, advanced stage periodontal disease is considered a chronic illness and needs to be managed like one. Fortunately, if it is caught early, it is entirely reversible. However, for our patients who may have more severe periodontal disease, we here at Century Dental often recommend a procedure known as scaling and root planing to help treat and manage this potentially highly dangerous illness.
How Scaling and Root Planing Helps Manage Gum Disease
Understanding what causes gum disease, and how to prevent it, is key to helping prevent any complications that can arise from it. Periodontal disease occurs in the absence of a good oral hygiene regimen. That means that to help prevent it, you must also help do your part in taking good care of your teeth and gums.
Early stage periodontal disease, known as gingivitis, is entirely curable. Once it progresses to periodontitis, though, you will need our help to manage it. Gingivitis is often quite painless, and it may be hard to detect it on your own. That is why regular checkups and cleanings are so essential in preventing it. Signs that you may have gum disease include blood in your saliva after you brush and floss your teeth, red or swollen gums, receding gum line, a bad taste in your mouth, and bad breath (halitosis).
You can prevent gum disease by introducing a good oral hygiene regimen. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. After you brush, you need to floss, at least once a day. Use an 18-inch length of floss and work it between your teeth and up under your gumline, using a fresh section of floss per tooth. You can use antibacterial mouthwash, too, but it is no substitute for brushing and flossing.
If you develop gum disease, one of the ways we will treat it is with scaling and root planing. This procedure involves using our scaling tool, which often looks like a metal hook, to remove all the calculus (hardened tartar buildup) from your teeth. We may also use an ultrasonic scaler to remove the buildup, as well. After we scale your teeth, we will then perform the root planing. This includes carefully scaling the surface of your tooth root, up under your gums, to remove all of the calculus. This smooths the surface of the root, not only making it harder for the calculus to return but easier for your gums to reattach to your tooth roots.
Recovering from Scaling and Root Planing is Something We Can Help With
After a scaling and root planing, it is normal to feel a little bit uncomfortable. We may prescribe antibiotics to help combat the infection, and you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with the discomfort. To help prevent the need for this procedure, it is important to schedule regular appointments with us to catch any disease quickly and early. If it has been longer than six months since your last appointment, or you are interested in learning more about scaling and root planing, please give us a call today here at Century Dental at (971) 708-1608!