Periodontal disease is a common but serious dental problem that many people don’t know they have until it’s too late. Symptoms aren’t always obvious right away, but periodontal disease can cause serious damage as it progresses. In fact, periodontal disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in older adults. If you have periodontal disease, Dr. Rezaiyan and our team at Laurel Dental Associates may recommend scaling and root planing.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Every day, a sticky, colorless bacterial film forms on your teeth. This film is called plaque. Plaque contains millions of bacteria and their acidic byproducts, and it needs to be removed from teeth at least twice a day. Not removing plaque promptly and properly allows the acid to damage your teeth and the bacteria to attack the gum tissue.
The body then responds with inflammation, causing gum disease. In the earliest stages, gums might look red or puffy, and they might bleed a little when you brush or floss. If gum disease isn’t caught and addressed at this stage, it can get worse. You might notice that you have bad breath constantly even when you have just brushed, or your gums might look like they are pulling away from your teeth. At this point, you need treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to bone, tooth and gum loss, and it can increase your risk of other serious health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Why Do I Need Scaling and Root Planing?
Scaling and root planing, SC/RP, is the first step in conquering gum disease. This is a deep cleaning procedure that removes all the plaque buildup that is endangering your dental health. When the plaque isn’t removed, it continues to irritate the gums until they start to separate from the teeth. This creates periodontal pockets, which can be too deep and narrow to clean with a toothbrush or any at-home tools. SC/RP is used to clean these periodontal pockets and remove infection-causing material so that your gums can heal.
During the scaling, your gums are numbed for your comfort, and then the plaque and tartar both above and below the gum line are removed. During the root planing, the roots of the teeth are smoothed so that the gums can reattach properly and close the pockets. Sometimes, a special antibiotic will be used after the scaling and root planning to continue to fight infection even after you leave our dental office.
To get the most out of your SC/RP, you’ll need to enhance your at-home dental hygiene routine. Along with proper brushing and flossing techniques, you might benefit from a prescription mouthwash that helps combat bacteria. You may need additional SC/RP treatments in the future or more frequent maintenance cleanings to prevent reoccurrence.
SC/RP is the first step in treating periodontal disease, and for many patients, it might be the only necessary treatment. For those with more advanced periodontal disease, other procedures may be needed, including:
- Crown lengthening
- Laser gum treatments
- Gum Grafting
Early diagnosis and proper treatment can make a big difference in your outcome and might just save your smile. Contact Laurel Dental Associates today to find out more or to schedule your appointment with Dr. Rezaiyan.