If you take care to brush your teeth at least twice every day and floss them at least once every day you are undoubtedly doing great things to preserve your oral health. However, the fact remains that even the best at-home oral hygiene habits are insufficient to thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth. This is why visiting your dentist every six months for a thorough examination and professional cleaning is so essential–your dentist possesses the skills, tools and techniques to remove the plaque and tartar that your daily brushing and flossing has missed. The goal, of course, is to prevent gum disease and preserve optimal oral health. Unfortunately, there is always the risk that you may develop at least a mild form of gum disease, in which case your dentist may need to undertake a more thorough form of cleaning. This more thorough cleaning is referred to as root planing and teeth scaling.
What to Expect
Root planing and teeth scaling is a non-surgical procedure that your dentist performs in order to treat periodontal disease. Since gum disease is often painless and is best addressed early on, your dentist routinely checks for some of the basic symptoms of gum disease during your regular dental examinations. One symptom he will be looking for is the formation of deep periodontal pockets.
Normal, healthy gum tissue fits tightly around each tooth, leaving only one to three millimeters’ depth from the top of the gumline to where the gum tissue attaches to the tooth. However, when plaque and tartar build up on the teeth they tend to push down around and below the gum tissue, causing the gums to pull back from the teeth and deeper pockets to form, making measurements between gumline and where the gum tissue attaches to the teeth four millimeters or more in depth. Where this is the case, your dentist will recommend root planing and teeth scaling.
To perform the root planing and teeth scaling procedure, your dentist will likely recommend the use of a local anesthetic in order to minimize your discomfort. Once you have been prepared and are comfortable, your dentist will use special tools and techniques to thoroughly clean the surfaces of your teeth and roots in order to remove all plaque, tartar and bacteria. He will then smooth the rough areas on your root surfaces in order to prevent plaque, tartar and bacteria from reattaching to these surfaces. This will allow your gums to heal and reattach to your teeth more firmly.
After Root Planing and Teeth Scaling
Your dentist may prepare you for some mild soreness following the root planing and teeth scaling procedure. He will also want you to schedule a follow-up visit so that he can check on whether your periodontal pockets are shrinking and your gums are healing. Most of the time, the red and swollen gum tissue that results from gum disease will become firm and pink again after root planing and teeth scaling. You may also notice that your gums don’t bleed as much, or at all, anymore when you brush and floss them. When your gum tissue has healed well and is stable, your dentist will let you know that further treatment is unnecessary. In some rare cases, your dentist may need to inform you of further treatment options to handle conditions that are more advanced.
The best way to avoid oral health issues like gum disease is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, replacing your toothbrush whenever the bristles become worn, flossing your teeth at least once a day, using an antimicrobial mouthwash everyday, refraining from smoking and visiting your dentist twice a year for thorough dental examinations and cleanings.
For more information about root planing and teeth scaling, contact Dr. Nurminsky today.