Gum disease develops when oral bacteria begin to attack the soft tissues of the mouth. It can lead to tooth and bone loss, and some research has suggested a link between gum disease and other health problems like diabetes and pregnancy complications.
This condition occurs in stages. The mildest of these is gingivitis, which often is addressed by a professional dental cleaning. Gingivitis is typically marked by gums that are red, swollen or bleeding. However, if you do not get dental cleanings frequently enough, the gum disease can progress into more advanced forms like periodontitis, in which pockets develop in the gum, allowing bacteria to collect along the gum line.
If you are diagnosed with more advanced gum disease, your general dentist will refer you to a periodontist for more specialized treatment.
One treatment that is particularly effective for periodontitis is root planing and scaling. A periodontist will recommend this if pockets have developed in the gums or if tartar has accumulated on the roots of the teeth.
While performing a root planing and scaling, a periodontist will thoroughly clean the area between the root and the gum to remove any plaque and tartar that have collected there. If the root surface is rough, which can also provide a haven to oral bacteria; the surface will also be smoothed over.
Some periodontists use ultrasonic instruments for root planing and scaling, while others use more traditional tools. This procedure requires at least a local anesthetic, and many patients request sedation for additional comfort. Most patients experience little discomfort following the procedure.
Patients must continue to practice good home oral hygiene after a root planing and scaling procedure in order to reduce their chances of having a relapse of gum disease. Be sure to floss daily and brush twice a day. An anti-bacterial mouthwash may also be recommended for you.
Gum disease has serious consequences for your oral health and your overall health. If you have developed periodontitis, seek treatment as soon as possible. This may involve the deep cleaning procedure known as root planing and scaling. Ask our periodontal specialist if this will be beneficial in your case. Call 718-417-4544 to schedule an appointment today.