If you have acute periodontal (gum) disease, and it does not clear up with simple treatment, you may need to undergo scaling and cleaning. Even if you have your teeth cleaned regularly, and you make sure to brush and floss, you may still need this treatment. This is to clean the plaque or tartar that is left on the part of the teeth under the gum line that cleaning and flossing cannot reach. If you have an infection or pockets in your gum line, the teeth pockets will get deeper, which allows tartar and plaque to build up.
How Scaling is Done
Scaling and root planing starts with a local anesthetic, if necessary, to decrease any pain. The dentist then uses a cleaner, or scaler, to clean under your gum line, removing the plaque and tartar. After that is done, he or she will plane and smooth the surfaces of the roots, which will help the gums to reattach to the tooth itself. If the problem is still there, the dentist will have to do it again, or try pocket reduction procedures. The main thing is to stop the buildup of plaque and tartar, and help the area heal. This can be a lengthy process that can lead to more than one dental appointment, but is worth saving your teeth.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Bacteria will flourish if plaque and tartar are left on the teeth, causing irritation and bleeding of the gums. This will be noticeable when you brush your teeth, and sometimes when you are eating. These are signs that you have gum disease, which is referred to as gingivitis. Your dentist may first prescribe a mouthwash with Corsodyl, or chlorhexidine, to clean the teeth and gums further. Almost everyone over the age of 18 has some amount of gum disease, but if it is not treated, it will get down in the base of the teeth, which causes tooth pockets. Bacteria will form in those pockets, and cause damage to the tooth structure. This will lead them to fall out eventually. There are no symptoms of this disease until it becomes severe, so regular appointments with your dentist will help to deter the problem.
After Root Planing
There may be some pain after the procedure, but it should be minor, and will not last long. Your teeth may be more sensitive to cold or heat, and there may be a little bit of bleeding. You can take pain relievers such as aspirin or acetaminophen for the pain. Your dentist may prescribe some other type of pain reliever for you, if the pain is severe. You should be careful when brushing and flossing to prevent causing more pain and bleeding. Your dentist may also suggest salt water or chlorhexidine mouthwash to help relieve pain and bleeding while killing germs. After your gums have healed sufficiently, you can go back to regular brushing and flossing to prevent this from happening again.
A daily oral routine and regular trips to the dentist will not only protect your smile, but will also keep you healthy!