SCALING AND ROOT PLANING: NONSURGICAL TREATMENT FOR GUM DISEASE
When it comes to dental care, gum health is just as important as tooth health. The gums support the teeth and protect the underlying jawbone. Unfortunately, many individuals are predisposed to gum disease, which can trigger a host of serious oral and overall health issues. Patients with mild to moderate periodontal disease can manage the condition with regular scaling and root planing. The registered dental hygienists at Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney in Charlotte, NC each have over a decade of experience helping patients manage gum disease. No matter what your dental needs, Drs. John M. Pinnix, George A. Betancourt, and our entire team can help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile.
About Periodontal Disease
When plaque accumulates on surfaces of the teeth, it becomes a breeding ground for oral bacteria. If plaque, tartar, and debris are not routinely removed through at-home care and professional cleanings, these irritants can begin to aggravate the gum tissue. As a result, the gums become red, tender, and swollen. They may also bleed when brushing or flossing. Gum disease can be categorized into three stages:
- Gingivitis: The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis is characterized by red, puffy gums. Fortunately, this condition can be reversed through a regular dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene.
- Periodontitis: If gingivitis goes on untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. At this stage, the infection seeps beneath the gum line and begins to erode the supporting jawbone. As a result, periodontal pockets form around the roots of the teeth. Periodontitis can result in tooth mobility and shifting.
- Advanced periodontitis: When periodontitis is not treated, the condition will continue to advance. The infection will continue to have a negative impact on the bone, and the gum tissue may recede and pull away from the teeth. It is not uncommon to experience tooth loss at this stage.
The sooner periodontal disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. While mild to moderate gum disease can be addressed through nonsurgical means, such as scaling and root planing, advanced gum disease requires surgery. Early treatment can preserve oral health and save patients a tremendous amount of time and money later on.
The sooner periodontal disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
Gum Health and Whole-Body Health
Over the past several years, research has shown a link between periodontal health and general health. When infection is present in the gums and around the teeth, it is also being carried to major tissues and organs via your bloodstream. For this reason, gum disease has been linked to more serious medical complications, such as stroke and heart disease. Therefore, when you protect your gum health, you are investing in your overall wellbeing.
Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing
Also referred to as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing is commonly the first line of defense against mild to moderate periodontal disease. This treatment offers numerous advantages, including:
- Improved gum health: When bacteria and infection are removed, the gums become pink and healthy again.
- Disease prevention: Eliminating infection and cleaning the surfaces of the roots helps to prevent gum disease from occurring later on.
- Tooth preservation: When the gums are compromised, the teeth are much more vulnerable to decay and damage. By caring for your gums, you protect your teeth as well.
- Improved breath: The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to bad breath or bad taste. These symptoms cannot be masked with mouthwash. Eliminating the source of the infection is the only way to eradicate them.
What to Expect during Scaling and Root Planing
To perform scaling and root planing, local anesthesia will be administered. This will allow the hygienist to clean deep under the gums and sweep away bacteria in hard-to-reach areas. Using ultrasonic scalers and a variety of dental instruments, plaque, tartar, and debris will be gently removed and the roots of the teeth will be polished and smoothed out to deter further irritants from reattaching.
Because scaling and root planing is nonsurgical, most patients experience little to no discomfort following the procedure. Individuals may notice heightened tooth sensitivity. However, this is a normal side effect, and generally diminishes in a few weeks.
Once scaling and root planing is complete, you will need to stay on a routine cleaning schedule to maintain your progress and protect your oral health. While many patients find that six-month cleanings are adequate, individuals who are predisposed to gum disease may benefit from visits every three to four months. Our team at Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney can help determine a hygiene schedule to meet your unique oral health needs.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, it is important to have the condition assessed as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment at our practice, contact us online or call us at (704) 543-1102.