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Scaling and Root Planing and Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the most common oral problems dentists treat regularly, and a procedure called scaling and root planing is often the first line of defense against the advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis.
Gum disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque, that builds up on teeth surfaces. Plaque is constantly forming on teeth surfaces as oral bacteria feast on leftover food particles. When teeth are not properly cleaned, plaque can build to the point where it leads to inflammation in the gums. This is the result of plaque getting into gum pockets where the bristles of a toothbrush or dental floss can no longer reach it. The body responds to the bacterial invasion by sending antibodies to the areas, leading to inflammation and damage to the structures that keep teeth in place.
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and it can be reversed by improving oral hygiene. More advanced cases of gum disease can be treated with teeth cleaning if the pockets are not too deep. When a person has periodontitis (the advanced stage of gum disease), scaling and root planing might be needed as well as other treatments like gum flap surgery.
How scaling and root planing fight gum disease
The process of scaling and root planing can be broken down into two main parts. The scaling part involves the dentist removing hardened plaque, called tartar, from below and above the gumline. Gum pockets are also cleaned during this stage. The planing stage involves smoothing out tooth roots, making it harder for tartar and bacteria to stick to the surfaces there. It also makes it easier for the dentist to reattach the gums after the treatment.
Recovering after scaling and root planing
Scaling and root planing can leave a person with some discomfort and increased tooth sensitivity for up to seven days. The patient's gums will likely feel tender and swollen during this period, and there might be some bleeding.
To help with pain management or to reduce the risk of infection, the dentist might prescribe pills or a mouth rinse to use during the recovery period. The dentist may also insert medication directly into gum pockets.
The patient will be scheduled for a follow-up visit so that the dentist can monitor how well their gums have healed and if their gum pockets have gotten deeper. If the dentist notices deeper pockets, other treatments might be performed.
Patients who want to get the most out of scaling and root planing should make good oral hygiene a priority. Teeth should be brushed at least two times each day and it is best to avoid habits like drinking and smoking, which dry out the mouth.
Get treatment for gum disease
Contact our Grand Blanc clinic if you are dealing with gum disease. Our dentist will evaluate your condition and come up with the best treatment plan for you.
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