Finding out that you have gum disease may feel defeating but it’s great that you turned to our dental professionals and are one step closer to having the problem treated. Many people ignore their symptoms and don’t visit their dentist as often as they should for routine checkups, so they don’t catch gum disease until the later stages when it’s already done quite a bit of damage. When it comes to treating gum disease, the gold standard is typically a deep cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing.
What Is Scaling And Root Planing?
This two-step procedure is best performed on those with mild to moderate forms of gum disease. To treat those pockets of infection that have forms in the gums, our periodontal team will often recommend scaling and root planing.
Scaling is the deep cleaning part of this treatment and it’s also the first step in this process. Scaling simply means that our dental hygienists will use special instruments to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from teeth and along the gum line.
Once scaling is complete, we will move on to root planing. Root planing involves using ultrasonic devices and handheld instruments to remove plaque and tartar buildup from under the gum line and along the roots of the teeth. We may also smooth down the roots to make them a less hospitable environment for bacteria to buildup.
Since this is a more in-depth cleaning than your traditional six-month dental cleaning, local anesthesia is typically administered beforehand to reduce any discomfort. Depending on how widespread your gum disease is, our dental team may treat the problem areas in a single one-to-two-hour session or require two separate appointments (in cases where we need to treat the entire mouth or more widespread areas of infection).
What Should I Expect After Scaling And Root Planing?
It may take several hours for the local anesthesia to wear off after your procedure, so you mustn’t consume any hot foods or beverages that could potentially burn your mouth. We may prescribe pain medications or antibiotics to prevent infection. This is something we will discuss with you after your procedure.
In many cases, only one scaling and root planing treatment is needed. During your follow-up appointment, we will check the gums to see if they’ve returned to their natural healthy, firm, and pink state. If so, no further treatment is necessary; however, you’ll need to come in periodically to make sure the infection hasn’t returned. We will also provide you with recommendations regarding at-home oral care and products to use to protect your gums from disease.