The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove causative agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment or a preventative measure. They are commonly performed in cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.
Dr. Sherry and his trained periodontal hygienists will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, Dr. Sherry may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases, local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.
Antibiotics placed via a gel polymer may be recommended to be placed into the diseased periodontal pocket to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. This is done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for the periodontist to resolve the disease process for the patient. Patients can seldom if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of disease-causing plaque bacteria. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health and improve long-term success for the patient.
Scaling and root planing can have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes contributing to heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.
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