Dr. Chester Chianese: Scaling and Root Planing to Arrest Gum Disease

Scaling and Root Planing to Treat Gum Disease

The best treatment for gum disease is preventing it with great oral hygiene practices. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, which is why gum disease is one of the top dental issues today. A highly effective way of arresting gum disease before it advances into more severe stages is through root planing and scaling, also called deep cleaning or gum treatment.

Why dentists perform root planing and scaling

Dentists perform root planing and scaling on patients whose tooth roots have extensive tartar (hard mineral deposits) and on patients with gums that are pulling away from their teeth.

Treatment procedure

During root planing and scaling, the dentist cleans between the teeth and gums right down to the tooth roots and this sometimes requires numbing of the area. The dentist or hygienist may use a standard scarping tool or an ultrasonic tool for the procedure, depending on the patient’s particular situation. Following the deep cleaning, the dentist may choose to place antibiotic fibers into the pockets between gums and teeth to prevent infection and speed healing. The dentist removes these fibers approximately one week after treatment. Lips and gums may be numb for a few hours following root planing and scaling, but the procedure doesn’t cause much or any discomfort.

Effectiveness of treatment

In patients who maintain and/or improve their dental care following treatment, root planing and scaling can stop the progression of gum disease. Once the gums heal, they should regain their firmness and healthy pink color.

Potential risks of treatment

The risks of root planing and scaling are minimal in healthy patients, but it’s important to discuss them with a dental professional before undergoing treatment. Dentists may prescribe antibiotics before and after treatment because it can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream and the gum tissue has a risk of infection. Reasons dentists prescribe antibiotics to dental patients undergoing root planing and scaling include the patient has heart problems, an impaired immune system, has had recent major surgery or has man-made replacement parts such as an artificial hip.

Important considerations

Root planing and scaling is a relatively simple and virtually painless procedure that can effectively stop gum disease, but it’s important that patients continue proper dental care to improve results and prevent the progression of gum disease. Patient can promote and improve healing following the treatment by quitting all tobacco use as tobacco reduces the body’s ability to fight infection and delays healing.

Protect the health and future of your natural teeth by contacting Chianese Dental and asking about our treatment options for preventing and arresting gum disease.

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