Periodontal disease, better known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. Periodontal care includes treatments and procedures that manage and prevent gum disease. Scaling and root planing are two procedures that are usually performed in tandem to treat gum disease and keep it from recurring or becoming worse.
What does periodontal scaling and root planing entail? Here’s what you can expect if you undergo these procedures.
What is Scaling?
Scaling is the process of removing hardened plaque from your teeth. When food residue and bacteria combine it forms a sticky film that clings to your teeth called plaque. If plaque stays on the teeth long enough without being removed (by brushing or by your dentist) it hardens into calculus, which is much more difficult to remove. Dentists have special tools that can remove calculus from your teeth as well as the calculus that forms on your roots under the gums.
What is Root Planing?
After removing the calculus from any exposed root surfaces of your teeth, it can sometimes leave the surface uneven or rough. Root planing is the process of smoothing out the roots of your teeth to remove any divots or bumps. Once the roots have been smoothed, the gum tissue can form a tighter seal with the tooth surface that will exclude bacteria from and prevent further infection. The main purpose of root planing is management and prevention of gum disease.
How Often Should You Have Periodontal Maintenance?
For people who are prone to gum disease, meaning you’ve had a severe case or a recurring case that is difficult to cure or prevent, periodontal maintenance may be recommended. The average patient should go to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings, but if you have had difficulty with gum disease, have risk factors that make you more prone to developing gum disease, or family history of the condition, your dentist may recommend that you come in every 3 months or more frequently for periodontal maintenance. In more severe or persistent cases, referral to a periodontist may be recommended to achieve the best outcome.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a common oral health problem, but it doesn’t have to be a problem for you. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing gum disease, such as:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day to remove food residue and plaque from your teeth. The food you eat is what feeds the bacteria in your mouth, so removing the food reduces bacteria, which reduces your chances of developing gum disease.
- Floss once a day. Dentists also recommend flossing once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and in the pockets between your teeth and gums. Flossing also strengthens your gum tissue, making it more resistant to infection. For larger spaces that are a challenge to clean with floss, other dental tools that clean between the teeth may be recommended by your dentist.
- Rise with antibacterial mouthwash. Your dentist may recommend that you use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep bacteria levels down in your mouth. Mouthwash can reach the tiny microscopic places in your mouth that your toothbrush and floss can’t.
- Go to the dentist on a regular schedule. Going to the dentist for regular cleanings at least every 6 months allows your dentist to remove plaque from your teeth before it turns into calculus. This reduces the risk of developing gum disease from the hardened plaque.
- Maintain a low sugar diet. The less sugar you consume the lower your risk of gum disease. Sugary foods and beverages stick to your teeth and attract bacteria.
Gardiners Dental Clinic Provides Periodontal Services
If you struggle with gum disease, experiencing bleeding, irritated gums or loose teeth, Gardiners Dental Clinic can help. We provide a wide range of periodontal services that can treat, prevent, and clear up the after effects of gum disease.