Scaling and Root Planing 101

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Typically, when you visit the dentist for a professional teeth cleaning, your teeth and gumline will be cleaned to ward off gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding your teeth, and it can develop when bacterial plaque and tartar builds up. Scaling essentially removes this plaque and tartar.

Gum disease: scaling and root planning is done to treat periodontal disease, and it is a non-surgical procedure. This is important, because healthy gum tissue fits snugly around each tooth, supporting them in their position. If bacterial plaque and tartar build up around the gums and under the gums, pockets (spaces) can form, pulling the tissue away from the tooth. Treatment is crucial, because advancing gum disease may lead to bone loss, and ultimately, teeth falling out.

Scaling and root planing: this is the first procedure dentists use to treat advancing gum disease. This can be performed in more than one visit. First, we thoroughly scale all of the plaque, bacteria, and tartar from the tooth and surfaces of the root. During root planing, we smooth out all of the rough surfaces on the roots. This helps prevent bacteria, plaque, and tartar from reattaching beneath the gumline so that your gums can heal and reattach to your teeth.

Healing: After a scaling and root planning is done, red or swollen gum tissue firms up and turns pink, bleeding lessens or stops altogether, and the gum pockets diminish. You might have pain for a day or so, and experience tooth sensitivity for a week. Your gums will likely feel swollen and tender as they heal. You might be prescribed medication or a mouth rinse to prevent infection or control pain. Antibiotic fibers might be placed into the pockets between your teeth and gums to help you heal and keep infection away. You will likely be encouraged to follow up with periodic cleanings and monitoring of your gum tissue and any gum recession to make sure the pockets stay gone and the tissue healthy.

What you can do: to keep gum tissue from setting up camp in your mouth, you should brush and floss daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush, follow up with a mouth rinse that discourages bacteria, eat a nutritious diet and avoid tobacco use. Finally, don’t skip your scheduled dental cleanings. We want to help you maintain a healthy smile, with healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime of smiles.

If you are ready to treat your gum disease, please call 505-888-1116 today and schedule an appointment. At The Office of Dr. Henry Espinosa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we are here for you. Your periodontist, Dr. Henry Espinosa and our team look forward to helping you with your oral care needs!