Scaling and Root Planing
Gum disease is very common, with nearly half of the entire American population suffering from some degree of this illness. While gum disease can vary in severity, catching it early can help prevent a long list of complications later on. If left untreated, gum disease can cause severe recession of your gums, increasing your risk of losing your teeth. When we here at Long Island Smile encounter a patient with advanced gum disease, we like to perform a procedure known as scaling and root planing to help treat it and prevent it from getting worse.
What Happens During a Scaling and Root Planing Procedure?
Gum disease can vary in severity. Early stage gum disease is also known as gingivitis, and if we catch it at this stage, we can cure it for you. However, once it progresses to a later stage, it is no longer reversible. Instead, it needs to be managed like any other chronic illness. Advanced stage gum disease is also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis.
Gingivitis is often hard to detect on your own, which is why regular checkups are so important. It is fairly painless, making it even harder to realize you have it. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis, or gum disease, includes red or swollen gum, bad breath (also known as halitosis), receding gums, and the presence of blood in your spit after you brush and floss your teeth.
To avoid gum disease, you need to make sure you are following a good oral hygiene program. You need to brush your teeth twice a day, both morning and night, for two minutes each time. Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle to your gums using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. You also need to floss at least once a day. To floss correctly, use an 18” segment of dental floss. Work the floss between each tooth and up underneath your gums to remove all trapped bacteria and debris. Use a fresh section of floss per tooth.
Once you have more advanced periodontal disease, a regular cleaning simply will no longer be enough. We will need to do a deep cleaning, also known as a scaling and root planing. We may need to numb your mouth before we begin to avoid any discomfort to you during this procedure.
During the scaling and root planing, we may use either our manual or an ultrasonic scaler to remove all hardened calculus (also known as tartar) from your teeth. Then we will remove all calculus from underneath your gumline, too. Next, we will smooth down your tooth roots (the planing part of the procedure) to make it harder for the calculus to return. This will also make it easier for your gums to reattach to your tooth roots, which can stop your receding gums from getting worse.
Just because periodontal disease is common does not mean that it is harmless. If left untreated, it can quickly become dangerous. It has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart attack, and eventually death. If it has been longer than six months since your last checkup, or you would like to learn more about scaling and root planing, please give us here at Long Island Smile a call today at (516) 243-7473.