Scaling and root planing are dental procedures that help remove plaque and tartar buildup from above and beneath the gum line. You are more likely to have plaque, tartar, or calculus if you have chronic periodontitis or advanced gum disease. Gum disease can cause your gums to pull away from the surrounding structures, causing tooth loss and the loss of your jawbone. Scaling and root planing are the standard dental procedures for addressing periodontitis. These proven deep-cleaning procedures remove the tartar that hardens on the surfaces of your teeth and roots. It improves the health of your teeth and gums and improves your smile. Contact Beach Dental Care Anaheim for more information on Scaling and root planing.

Understanding Scaling And Root Planing

Scaling and root planing are also known as deep cleaning. You are a good candidate for deep cleaning if you have advanced gum disease, referred to as periodontitis. Tooth scaling removes the tartar you see on the tooth's surface while you smile. On the other hand, root planing removes the tartar adhering to the roots of your teeth beneath the gum line.

Here are the signs that you need scaling and root planing:

Formation Of Deep Pockets

One of the most visible signs that you need scaling and root planing is the formation of deep pockets. Your gums hold the roots of your teeth firmly. However, the formation of plaque and tartar makes the pockets loosen up. During your dental checkup, the dentist will measure how deep the tissues are in the area surrounding your teeth. Anything above four millimeters indicates that you have deep pockets. In this case, your dentist can recommend scaling and root planing.

Bone Loss

Bone loss indicates that you need urgent scaling and root planing procedures. Bone loss is challenging to detect because it occurs between the tooth root and the jaw. When you visit your dentist, an x-ray will reveal probable bone loss or detachment. This is where the dentist will recommend a deep cleaning.

Bleeding From The Gums

You could notice your gums bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth. This is a sign of gingivitis, so you need deep cleaning. Blood from the gums indicates that there are bacteria below the gum line.

Shrinking Gum Line

Receding or shrinking gum lines are easy to detect with the naked eye. You can see and feel your gum line around a certain tooth pulling back from the tooth. When you notice receding gums, you should visit the dentist immediately because this could indicate a severe dental issue, including pocket formation.

Inflamed Or Swollen Tissues

Another common indicator that you need scaling and root planing is swollen or inflamed tissue around your teeth. The swelling can be due to gingivitis, caused by a bacterial infection.

Bad Breath or Halitosis

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth could indicate gum disease. Bad breath resulting from gingivitis smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. The smell is due to the harmful bacteria in your mouth releasing substances with these pungent odors. Because periodontal disease is persistent, the smell is also persistent. If you try everything to remove the smell but it persists, it may be time to consider deep cleaning.

Other signs that you need deep cleaning are:

  • Loose teeth.
  • Difficulty chewing food.
  • Tooth Sensitivity.
  • Toothache.
  • Discharge or pus from the gums.

A dentist or a periodontist performs scaling and root planing. A dental hygienist can also perform the procedure. Scaling and root planing is an outpatient procedure that does not require admission to the hospital. However, you will need several dental appointments to treat all your teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, affects more than half of the American population, with some having severe gum disease. Periodontitis is a severe infection characterized by inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth. When plaque forms on the teeth and harmful bacteria are present, this accumulation hardens into tartar. The film of bacteria makes the gums pull away from the teeth, forming large pockets. These pockets are hard to reach with a toothbrush, thus the need for deep cleaning.

In the initial stages, you can experience swelling, reddening, and bleeding of the gums. This condition is commonly known as gingivitis. If you do not seek treatment for gingivitis, the condition could progress to gum disease. Gum disease can cause tooth loss, tissue damage, and jawbone loss. Gum disease has no cure; you can only manage it through regular cleanings. The good news is that you can prevent gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene and making regular dental visits.

The Risk Factors For Periodontal Disease

A significant percentage of Americans over 30 have some form of gum disease. The risk of developing periodontal disease increases as you advance in age. Most people over 65 have gum disease. The leading risk factors for gum disease are:

  • Health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis — Diabetes is one of the typical risk factors for developing chronic periodontal gum disease.
  • A family history of gum disease — You are more likely to suffer from gum disease if there is a history of periodontal disease in your family.
  • Crooked teeth or overbite — With an irregular alignment of teeth, some areas will be hard to reach when brushing or flossing. Inadequate cleaning can lead to plaque buildup.
  • Hormonal changes tied to dental health, like those caused by birth control or pregnancy gingivitis,
  • Poor oral hygiene —Improper or insufficient tooth brushing and failing to brush could lead to plaque accumulation on the teeth. When the plaque is hardened, it becomes tartar.
  • Dietary Habits — Plaque buildup can result from regularly consuming foods or beverages high in sugar.
  • Stress — When you are stressed, you are more likely to neglect your oral health.
  • Smoking — Chewing or smoking tobacco can significantly increase the risk of gum disease. It affects the health of your gums and increases the chances of plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Certain Medication — Some medications prescribed for heart disease, high blood pressure, seizures, or other heart conditions can affect oral health.

Before Tooth Scaling And Root Planing

Gum disease does not cause any pain. Your dentist can diagnose you with periodontal disease during your routine dental checkup. During a dental checkup, you can undergo a dental x-ray to identify problems like abscessed teeth, dental cavities, and bone loss. Dental imaging can also reveal the accumulated tartar on your teeth. Your dentist will discuss the available treatment options if you have gum disease. You will then be scheduled for scaling and root planning in the future.

The deep cleaning that extends beneath the gumline removes the accumulated dirt from each tooth, including the roots. Your dentist can use a local anesthetic to ensure no pain or discomfort during the procedure. Unlike general anesthesia, you will be awake during the treatment if the dentist uses local anesthesia.

During Tooth Scaling

A dentist or periodontist uses an ultrasonic scaling tool. The steps followed during tooth scaling are:

The metal tip on the ultrasonic scaler chips tartar from the teeth above the gum line.

Your dentist will then use a water spray to wash away the tartar and flush the plaque from the gum pockets.

The dentist will then use a manual scraper and a curette to remove the remaining tartar. A curette is a scraping device.

After scaling, your dentist can recommend additional treatment. Whether further treatment is necessary will depend on the condition of your teeth and gums. Your dentist can prescribe oral antibiotics or use antimicrobial agents to enhance healing.

During Root Planing

The root planing process is like tooth scaling, except on the tooth surface beneath the gum line. Here is what you can expect during root planing:

The dentist will use a unique tool to carefully push aside the gum tissue and expose the surface of the tooth root

Your dentist will then use the same scaling tools to remove tartar from the roots, making the roots smooth

Sometimes, the dentist injects antibiotic medication into your gum pockets to kill bacteria

Sometimes, the dentist can perform a dental procedure known as host modulation. This involves administering additional medication directly to your gums. The medication helps to correct the effects of prolonged gum disease. They also reduce the likelihood of an infection. Your dentist can also perform a complete mouth disinfection.

After Scaling And Root Planing

When the surfaces of your teeth are smooth, bacteria and plaque are less likely to stick to them. It is usual for your gums to be inflamed after the scaling and root planing procedure. The inflammation will subside as the gums heal. Healthy gums will reattach to the surfaces of your teeth's roots. Your dentist will measure the pockets surrounding the gum tissue during follow-up dental appointments. Your dentist can recommend periodontal surgery if the pockets have not reduced.

Surgical Treatments For Gum Disease

Your dentist can recommend surgical treatment and a deep cleaning if gum disease is severe. The typical surgical treatment methods for gum disease are:

  • Pocket reduction surgery — This procedure is also known as flap surgery. It involves lowering the gum line to make your gum pockets smaller.
  • Bone grafting — This procedure helps to replace the lost bone with lab-made or donor material.
  • Soft Tissue Grafting — This treatment helps to replace lost gum tissue. The dentist uses tissue from other parts of your mouth. The tissue can also be from a donor.
  • Guided tissue regeneration — The dentist can place a piece of biocompatible material inside your gum pockets. The dentist will do this when the gap between the teeth and bone is too deep. The biocompatible material helps to enhance cell growth.
  • Tissue-stimulating proteins — Your dentist can use gel to stimulate bone and tissue growth. The dentist applies this gel directly to the infected tooth.

Taking proper care of your teeth and mouth, in general, is essential to preventing the development of gum disease. You can also preserve the treatment results by observing a proper diet.

The Dental Appointments Required for Scaling and Root Planing

The appointments you will require for scaling and root planing will depend on the severity of your condition. The treatment period will also vary depending on your provider's preference. Some dentists will treat one side of your mouth in a single visit. You will need a second appointment to treat the other side of your mouth.

Other dentists can treat a quadrant of your mouth at a time. For example, your dentist can scale and plan the lower side of your mouth. During your next dental appointment, your dentist will scale and plan the upper side of your mouth. With this treatment approach, you can require up to four dental appointments.

The Benefits Of Scaling and Root Planing

The leading benefit of scaling and root planing is that they are effective treatments for gum disease. The treatment can keep you from losing your jawbone, gum tissue, and teeth. Below are the specific benefits of scaling and root planing:

  • Treats disease progression — When coupled with good oral health practices, scaling, and root planing, the gum tissue attaches to your teeth. It slows the progression of periodontitis.
  • Attractive smile — Scaling and root planing remove the accumulated plaque and tartar from your teeth. The procedure enhances the appearance of your smile.
  • Oral Health — Treating gum disease improves your overall health. It improves the stability of your teeth and general oral health.
  • Overall well-being — Gum disease has been associated with illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer's. Deep cleaning reduces the risk of these diseases.

The Risks Associated With Scaling And Root Planing

You will likely experience temporary discomfort after undergoing scaling and root planing. However, the good news is that the overall risks associated with the procedure are minimal.

Some patients must take antibiotics before scaling and root planing. These people include those with heart conditions like endocarditis. Your dentist can also recommend antibiotic treatment if you have synthetic heart valves. Taking antibiotics before the procedure reduces the risk of infection. If you are to undergo scaling and root planing, you should discuss the treatment with your cardiologist and dentist to determine if you need the antibiotic.

Scaling and root planing can also lead to the introduction of harmful bacteria into your bloodstream. It can lead to a blood infection or bacteremia.

Recovering After Treatment

What should you expect when recovering from a scaling and root planing treatment? Your gums will be temporarily inflamed and tender after the treatment. It is also normal to experience a degree of tooth sensitivity. You should follow the doctor's guidelines during the recovery period. Adhering to your dentist's instructions will speed up the healing process.

It is also advisable to:

  • Avoid consuming foods or drinks that are too cold or too hot.
  • Take antibiotics and pain relievers as directed by your dentist.
  • Eat soft foods.
  • Use antimicrobial mouthwash.

If the gum pockets do not shrink after the treatment, your dentist can recommend returning for another dental procedure. You can resume your routine oral health practices after the treatment. For example, it is safe to brush your teeth twice a day. After scaling and root planing, you must maintain a healthy diet and visit your dentist regularly to prevent the problem from returning.

Flossing is crucial because it reaches the food and plaque buildup between your teeth that brushing can miss. Therefore, in addition to brushing, you should floss daily. Ensure that you use fluoride toothpaste when brushing. Fluoride toothpaste promotes the health of the tooth enamel.

You will need a follow-up appointment with your dentist, usually one or two weeks after the deep cleaning. During this appointment, the dentist will observe how your gums are healing and whether the pockets in your gums have started to shrink.

Your dentist will likely place you on a cleaning schedule. Your dentist can advise you to go for a cleaning every three to four months instead of the typical six months.

When You Should Contact A Dentist

Following a scaling and root planing treatment, you should contact your dentist if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain that seems to get worse with time.
  • The treatment area does not recover as expected.
  • You develop fever.

You should only experience discomfort and sensitivity for a few days following the treatment. However, if you have pain that does not clear after a few weeks, you should contact your dentist.

How Often Do You Need Scaling And Root Planing?

The purpose of scaling and root planing is to stop the progression of gum disease. The extent and frequency of treatment depend on the disease's scope and infection. If you have severe periodontitis, your dentist can recommend scaling and root planing twice per year or more.

Find An Anaheim Experienced Dentist Near Me

Scaling and root planing are effective dental procedures for treating chronic periodontitis, an advanced gum disease. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, whereby a dentist or periodontist uses tools to remove tartar and plaque buildup below your gum line and on the roots of your teeth. After a deep cleaning, you must employ the best oral hygiene habits combined with regular follow-up appointments to preserve your health and gums. If you need reliable scaling and root planing services, contact Beach Dental Care Anaheim. Call us at 714-995-4000 to speak to one of our dentists.