Many patients who have gingivitis or more advanced stages of periodontal disease often experience bleeding and sore gums when brushing, flossing and eating. This is because when plaque is not removed properly, the bacteria can into difficult to remove calculus or tartar. The bacteria penetrates deeper under to the gums and causes them to pull away from the tooth, creating periodontal "pockets". When the periodontal disease is left untreated, it can spread to the bone and cause tooth loss. Scaling and root planing is a conservative therapy (non-surgical) that can be effective in the early stage of gum disease and is often used as an initial therapy in the treatment of more advanced stages of gum disease.
The general steps of the scaling and root planing treatment may include a local anesthetic to numb the root of your tooth being treatment. If you are anxious about treatment your doctor may suggest a form of sedation, if necessary. Once comfortable, the treatment uses an ultrasonic tool to remove the calculus (tartar). Your doctor or dental hygienist will use the instruments below the gum line to clean the root of your tooth. The goal of this deep cleaning process is to clear away the tartar and smooth the surface of the tooth to encourage the gum to reattach to the tooth.
It is necessary for scaling and root planing treatment patients to maintain their oral health and cleanliness after the procedure. Home maintenance is a major part of the healing process-the areas cleaned need to be free of food and debris in order to keep the bacteria from entering the periodontal pockets. Extra brushing and flossing may be required to ensure the area is clean at all times. It is also important to discontinue use of tobacco products. This will promote healing and reduce risk of infection.
It is best for patients to be in a healthy condition before receiving a scaling and root planning treatment. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and discuss sedation options. After your treatment, your doctor may recommend an antiseptic oral rinse to help rid your mouth of bacteria and reduce risk of infection. In some cases, it may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe antibiotics after your scaling and root planing procedure.
The scaling and root planning treatment is most effective in the early stages of gum disease and can reduce periodontal pocket depth up to two or three millimeters, a significant change in the early stages of this disease.
Dr. James M. Finley, located in Lafayette, LA, is a Periodontist who serves patients from Lafayette, Crowley, Breaux Bridge, Opelousas, St. Martinville, New Iberia, Abbeville, Maurice, and surrounding areas. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our office and encourage you to schedule your appointment today!
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