Scaling and Root Planing
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an oral infection caused by the bacteria that naturally occurs in our mouth. When you brush twice daily, floss your teeth daily, and have regular, bi-annual dental cleanings, you are typically able to control the growth of bacteria in your mouth on your own. However, some people, either due to oral hygiene practice, habits like smoking, other medical conditions or genetics will develop gingivitis, the first step of gum disease. With gingivitis, your gums become inflamed, red and swollen and can bleed easily. If caught by your dentist, regular brushing, flossing, and having bi-annual dental cleanings by a dental hygienist can reverse gingivitis easily.
If gingivitis is not treated, however, it can turn into periodontitis. With periodontitis, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, causing pockets to form around the teeth that become infected. Your body will recognize the bacteria growing below the gum line and will attempt to fight it. However, as a side effect of this immune system response, your body will also fight the infected connective tissue and jawbone, resulting in bone loss. Only a scaling and root planing by a qualified periodontist can stop this response and get rid of the harmful oral bacteria for good.
I Understand That I Need Scaling and Root Planing. What’s the Procedure Like?
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure to rid your teeth of the harmful bacteria that cause periodontitis. It is performed by Dr. Tsiokos, and you will be offered anesthesia to numb your gums and teeth during the procedure.
Scaling and root planing can be thought of as two different procedures: scaling is performed to rid your mouth of all bacteria and toxins, especially from your teeth and roots, and root planing is performed to smooth over your roots’ surfaces, making it harder for plaque to stick to the roots in the future. In some cases, Dr. Tsiokos may also place an antibiotic substance in the pockets that have formed around your teeth, to kill all bacteria and promote healing.
Does Scaling and Root Planing Hurt?
Dr. Tsiokos knows that many dental patients are fearful of dental procedures, so he understands that some of his scaling and root planing patients are afraid the procedure will hurt. Rest assured, your comfort during your scaling and root planing procedure is one of our top priorities. To make sure you are as comfortable as possible, you will be offered anesthesia to numb your gums and teeth. Nitrous oxide is also available.
After Your Scaling and Root Planing Procedure
After your scaling and root planing procedure is complete, you will be scheduled for a series of aftercare visits with Dr. Tsiokos. These regular checkups are important to keep because they check your mouth’s progress of healing from periodontitis and returning to a normal, healthy state. During these checkups in Dr. Tsiokos offices, he will check the status of your gums and your pockets, looking for signs that your gum inflammation is going away and that your pockets are shrinking. The good news is that for most scaling and root planing patients, your gums will return to a healthy pink and will reattach to your teeth on their own, without the need for additional, surgical intervention.
How Do I Care for My Teeth After a Scaling and Root Planing Procedure?
If you’ve had a scaling and root planing procedure performed, it’s important that you follow proper oral healthcare hygiene after your treatment to prevent the periodontitis from returning. This means that you should:
· Brush your teeth twice daily;
· Floss your teeth once a day;
· Use other tools such as a rubber tip or waterpik, If recommended By Dr. Tsiokos
· Use anti-bacterial mouth wash
· Keep regular periodontal maintenace schedule; and
· If you smoke, quit now to protect your oral and overall health.