Scaling and root planing eliminate plaque and bacteria buildup from hard-to-reach areas below the gum line that routine at-home dental care cannot address. Dr. Jon Marc Van Slate uses this technique at our Houston, TX, dental practice as part of a deep cleaning to treat gum disease when it is in the earliest and most manageable stages. When caught early, the side effects of gum disease are often reversible. However, when left untreated, the disease is chronic and can lead to serious oral and physical health conditions, such as tooth loss and diabetes.
However, when left untreated, the disease is chronic and can lead to serious oral and physical health conditions, such as tooth loss and diabetes.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation along your gum line and between teeth that can damage the soft and hard tissues of the mouth. Also called periodontal disease, this condition is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, but has also been linked to:
- Using tobacco products
- Poor nutrition
- Pregnancy or menopause
- Use of certain medications
- Having a family history of gum disease
Although this condition has been known to cause tooth loss and jawbone deterioration, it can also have a negative impact on your overall health. When gum disease reaches the most advanced stages, it can increase your risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, gum disease is preventable with a routine dental cleaning and examination every six months.
Signs and Symptoms
Because the early stages of gum disease are often unnoticeable, it is important to visit the dentist for routine dental cleanings and x-rays. Signs of gum disease can include:
- Red and inflamed gums
- Tooth sensitivity and pain
- Increased tooth decay
- Bleeding and tender gums after brushing and flossing
- Gum recession
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Chronic bad breath
What to Expect during the Scaling and Root Planing Procedure
During your consultation, Dr. Van Slate will perform a thorough examination and cleaning with the latest dental technology to review the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. If the early stages of gum disease are detected, Dr. Van Slate will recommend a scaling and root planing treatment.
Before beginning treatment, he will administer a topical or local anesthetic to numb the gums and surrounding tissue. Using the latest dental instrumentation and techniques, he will remove plaque and bacteria buildup from the surface of the tooth, below the gum line, and in between teeth with a scaler. Once the bacteria have been adequately removed, he will use a planing device to smooth the root surface below the gum line to minimize pockets that can trap food and bacteria. This treatment also allows the gums to fit tighter around the tooth to help prevent further bacteria from reentering.
If Dr. Van Slate finds that a patient has developed periodontal pockets, he can treat them by administering ARESTIN®, an antibiotic that slowly releases minocycline hydrochloride over time to continually eliminate bacteria. For more advanced cases, additional periodontal treatment may be necessary. To help keep your gum disease in check, Dr. Van Slate may recommend regular follow-up visits and cleanings more frequently.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are experiencing the beginning stages of gum disease, it is imperative to see a dentist as soon as possible to help prevent further damage from occurring. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Van Slate, contact our office online today or call (713) 783-1993.