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What Is Periodontal Scaling And Root Planing?

Team Periodontics

Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue in your mouth. It is typically caused by an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria also known as plaque can harden known as calculus. Good oral hygiene habits like brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day will usually prevent gum disease. But in some cases this is not enough. 

Your dentist may need to perform some basic dental procedures to treat and prevent gum disease. Such procedures include periodontal scaling and root planing. What are these procedures and how do they help? Here’s a basic explanation. 

Treating Gum Disease With Periodontal Scaling

Periodontal scaling is a procedure that is used to remove calculus from the teeth above and below the gum line. Calculus is hardened plaque that has been on the teeth for so long that it is difficult to remove. Dentists and periodontists have special tools and instruments that can remove calculus from the surface of the teeth. By removing this bacteria, it can prevent the bacteria from attacking the support of the teeth.  Removing plaque and calculus is the first step toward treating gum disease. 

Preventing Future Gum Disease With Root Planing

Periodontal Root Planing is usually performed at the same time as the Periodontal Scaling. Root planing is the process of smoothing out the root surface and removal of bacteria that has collected on the root. The presence of plaque and especially calculus can rough up the surface of the roots of your teeth which harbor the bacteria. This bacteria causes the  infection which eats away at the support of the tooth. Root planing smooths out these rough spots to eliminate these areas that the bacteria can grow.

Who Can Perform Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing?

Some general dentists have the tools and the expertise to perform scaling and root planing procedures. But a periodontist specializes in the field of gum health, making them an expert at performing these procedures and treating gum disease. Your dentist may refer you to a periodontist if you have persistent gum disease that is difficult to treat or keeps recurring after treatment. 

Is Either Process Painful?

No, there is no pain during periodontal scaling and root planing. A local anesthetic is used to numb the nerves in the area of the mouth where the procedure is performed. You may experience some slight discomfort once the anesthetic wears off and the following day. Any discomfort you feel after the procedure can be treated with over the counter pain relievers. 

What Are the Biggest Risks to Untreated Gum Disease? 

Gum disease needs to be treated as soon as it is detected. Early symptoms include swollen, red, or bleeding gums. The sooner it is treated, the easier it is to cure. When gum disease goes untreated and becomes severe, it can cause the gums and other support structures to detach from the teeth. This leads to loose teeth and may even result in tooth loss. 

Gum disease is also related to other health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Infection can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and affect other body systems. Visiting your dentist for regular dental cleanings and exams allows gum disease to be detected in the early stages and treated before it becomes severe. 

Fight Gum Disease With Help From Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of gum disease or have severe gum disease that keeps coming back, Dr. Gordon at Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry can help. We provide periodontal scaling and root planing procedures to help resolve your gum disease and prevent reinfection. Treating gum disease in the earliest stages can prevent tooth loss and other health issues that can result from this infection. 

Call 732-389-3400 to schedule an appointment at our Eatontown office, or call 732-364-2025 for our Howell office. You can also request an appointment. We look forward to helping you maintain excellent oral health.