Scaling and Root Planing
One of the reasons we emphasize the importance of practicing good oral hygiene and scheduling routine dental exams is to prevent patients from developing periodontal disease. Sometimes, however, patients can still develop this oral health issue. In these cases, we recommend treatment with scaling and root planing to prevent the problem from worsening while restoring the patient’s oral health.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease (also called gum disease) is a bacterial infection that starts in the gums and spreads to the periodontal ligaments and jawbone as the disease worsens and progresses.
Periodontal disease has several local symptoms, including:
- Red, swollen, inflamed gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Pus in the gums
- Receding gums
- Persistently bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Periodontal disease can also wreak havoc on a person’s general health, as well as their oral health. For example, periodontal disease has been associated with higher risks of infections of the respiratory system in addition to an increased risk of systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene practices. When a person does not brush or floss often enough with the proper technique or uses inadequate oral hygiene tools, plaque and tartar are allowed to accumulate on the surface of the teeth. This pushes the gums away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can thrive. This can lead to the development of gingivitis (the earliest stage of gum disease) and eventually periodontitis (more advanced stages of gum disease).
What Are Dental Scaling and Root Planing?
Dental scaling and root planing are two treatments used in conjunction with improved oral hygiene and more frequent dental hygiene appointments to address periodontal disease in patients.
Dental scaling actually takes place during every oral hygiene appointment in our office. Scaling is the process of using special dental tools to scrape the plaque and tartar away from the surfaces of the teeth.
In a scaling treatment that is addressing periodontal disease, the scaling extends further below the gum line, targeting the pockets where the gums have pulled away from the teeth.
Root planing cleans even deeper. This process involves using special tools to scrape away any built-up tartar or plaque from the roots of a patient’s teeth. Additionally, the treatment is designed to smooth these dental surfaces, eliminating cracks, grooves, and pits where bacteria can easily take hold and multiply.
Throughout the root planing process, the entire treatment area is irrigated with an antiseptic solution to sterilize the area and help eliminate infection.
Are Scaling and Root Planing Painful? Scaling and Root Planing Aftercare
Since scaling and root planing treatments extend below the gum line, these treatments take place with patients fully numbed using a local anesthetic. This anesthetic eliminates pain, sensitivity, and discomfort during treatments and even for a period of time following the patient’s treatment.
Once the anesthetic has worn off, patients might experience some slight tenderness, swelling, or sensitivity around the treatment area. This can usually be adequately relieved with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
Preventive and Restorative Dental Care With Our Dentist in Columbus
At Gerda Family Dental, we always believe that prevention is the best approach when it comes to periodontal disease. However, some patients are more prone to developing it than others, and, sometimes, it cannot be completely prevented with regular oral hygiene and routine dental care.
In these cases, we are here to help you manage the infection to keep it from worsening and seriously impacting your oral and general health. To learn more about periodontal disease and our treatment approach, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gerda, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Columbus.