Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious oral health condition. What may start as a little bleeding when brushing and flossing can end up leading to tooth decay and tooth loss. Restorative dentistry treatments can reverse the damage caused by gum disease and restore your oral health. One of the most effective restorative treatments for gum disease is root planing and scaling. Dr. Jon Marc Van Slate performs root planing and scaling at our Houston, TX practice to restore gum health and enhance the smile. Contact our office today to find out if root planing and scaling is right for you.
What Is Root Planing and Scaling?
Root planing and scaling is a periodontal treatment used to deeply clean the teeth and eliminate gum disease. Gum disease is an infection caused by a build up of bacteria, plaque, and tartar along the gum line. As gum disease progresses, plaque and tartar collect at the gum line, eventually pushing the gums away from the teeth, creating pockets. These pockets grow as more plaque, tartar, and debris collect and eventually reach the tooth roots. When this occurs, root planing and scaling is necessary to remove debris below the gum line, close pockets, and restore oral health.
The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure
The root planing and scaling procedure is typically performed in a single dental visit. Before the procedure begins, the gums may be numbed with a local anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort. Once the anesthetic takes effect, a metal dental scraping tool or an ultrasonic tool, sometimes both, will be used to gently remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and as far down as the roots.
In cases where pockets are large, antibiotic fibers may be placed between the gums and teeth to treat the infection, prevent further infection, and aid in healing. If fibers are placed, a second appointment will be scheduled about a week later to remove the fibers.
Root Planing and Scaling Aftercare
Although root planing and scaling is highly effective at treating gum disease and closing periodontal pockets, the success of treatment greatly depends on continued patient aftercare. Gum disease can come back after root planing and scaling treatment if the teeth and gums are not properly cleaned.
Immediately after treatment, you will be given personalized instructions on oral hygiene care during recovery. Generally, recovery takes a few days, during which time many patients experience tender gums. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and light pressure can help avoid irritation while the gums recover. It's also important to floss daily, even while recovering, to remove harmful plaque and bacteria from the gum line and between the teeth. When flossing during the initial recovery, use light pressure and floss gently.
After recovery, it's important to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Rinsing with an antiseptic after brushing and flossing can also help prevent gum disease, as can seeing your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
Discover Your Treatment Options
To learn more about root planing and scaling, or to discuss other gum disease treatments, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Slate.