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General Dentist: What Is Scaling and Root Planing?
Your general dentist will recommend scaling and root planing if you have symptoms of gum disease. Fortunately, scaling and root planing can help treat gum disease. This procedure is sometimes called a deep cleaning. Read on to learn more about scaling and root planing.
Scaling and root planing
Scaling and root planing procedure involves deep cleaning below the gumline. Deep cleaning is beneficial to people with chronic periodontitis. Periodontitis is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. This non-surgical procedure can be performed to treat periodontal disease.
Gum disease starts with bacterial growth in the mouth. It is caused by plaque. Plaque always forms on the teeth. If teeth are not cleaned properly, the bacteria in plaque can end up causing the gums to become inflamed. This can lead to the gums pulling away from the teeth and forming spaces that are referred to as pockets.
The plaque often gets trapped in these pockets. At this point, regular brushing will not be effective in removing the plaque. If not treated, gum disease can cause tooth and bone loss. If a dentist detects gum disease early, and it has not caused damage to the structures below the gumline, a professional cleaning can be useful. But if the pockets between the teeth and gums are very deep, scaling and root planing is needed.
What procedure a general dentist follows
This deep cleaning procedure has two parts. Scaling involves scraping away all the tartar and plaque below and above the gumline. After scaling, the dentist will begin root planing. It involves smoothing out the roots of the teeth to help the gums reattach to the teeth. A local anesthetic is usually used during the procedure to minimize discomfort. This process can take over one appointment to complete.
After the procedure
After a deep cleaning, a patient may have pain. A patient may also feel teeth sensitivity for some days after the treatment. The gums may become swollen, tender and even bleed. At a follow-up visit, the dentist will check to see how the gums are healing and if the pockets are shrinking.
In most cases, the pockets get smaller, swollen or red gum tissue becomes pink and firm again and bleeding reduces or stops. A general dentist may prescribe a mouth rinse or a pill for several reasons. They can be used to prevent infection, help in healing and control pain. Medication can also be directly inserted into the cleaned pocket.
Oral care for prevention
A good home care routine can help to keep gum disease from recurring or becoming more serious. It can also maintain a healthy mouth. Good dental care involves brushing teeth twice a day, cleaning between the teeth every day and eating a balanced diet. Regular dental checkups can also be beneficial.
The scaling and root planing procedure plays a vital role in treating gum disease. The procedure is done at the dentist’s office and can take more than one appointment. Regular dental visits are important after the procedure. Talk to your general dentist if you want to learn more about scaling and root planing.
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