Gum Disease Treatment: Root Planing and Scaling
You may think a little bleeding while you brush or floss your teeth is no big deal, when in fact, this is a tell-tale sign of gum disease and should not be ignored. Gum disease can lead to serious problems like chronic infection, pain, bone loss, and tooth loss. Fortunately, there are many dental treatments to reverse or repair the damage caused by gum disease. Manhattan cosmetic dentists Clifford Degel and Carmen Every-Degel perform restorative and cosmetic treatments to improve the health and appearance of the smile. If you suffer from gum disease, root planing and scaling is just one of the possible options for gum disease treatment. Read on to learn about this procedure and how it can help improve the health of your gums.
What Is Root Planing and Scaling?
Root planing and scaling is a deep cleaning procedure used to treat gum disease. Gum disease is an infection caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar, and can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Because the gum line can be difficult to properly clean, plaque and tartar are prone to develop at and beneath the gum line. This often leads to gum disease. Root planing and scaling is performed to clean away the buildup of plaque beneath the gum line and down to the roots of the teeth. It is also necessary when gum disease has caused the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets between the teeth and gums. If left untreated, these pockets will continue to enlarge and eventually lead to tooth loss.
The root planing and scaling procedure is performed by either a dentist or dental hygienist. The gums may be numbed with a local anesthetic during the procedure. A scraping tool or ultrasonic tool is used to gently scrape away plaque and tartar from the teeth all the way to the roots. The procedure is complete once all the teeth are carefully cleaned. After the root planing and scaling procedure, your gums will feel sore and tender. Soreness may last a few days. Stick to soft foods as you recover. Gargling with warm salt water is recommended. The salt works as a natural antiseptic and the warmth is soothing during the healing process.
Caring for Your Teeth and Gums after Treatment
The key to successful root planing and scaling treatment is to follow your dentist’s instructions for caring for your teeth. This includes properly brushing and flossing to prevent future plaque buildup. Brush for at least two full minutes twice a day. When brushing, pay special attention to cleaning the gum line, especially the back teeth where gum disease is most likely to occur. Floss at least once a day. Glide the floss between the teeth, following the curve of each tooth down to the gum line. Without proper care, your gum disease can come back. Be sure to thoroughly clean your teeth and see your dentist regularly.