When we think of keeping a healthy mouth, we usually think of brushing our teeth to keep them white. White teeth = healthy mouth, right? Not so fast. Tooth whiteness isn’t the only sign of health, and teeth aren’t the only part of our oral hygiene we need to think about.
What we often neglect to consider is our gum tissue. It is important to maintain like our teeth. And while our gums may not be quite as visible as our teeth, keeping them both clean and healthy will ensure a mouth free of gum disease. Generally, the beginning stages of gum disease can be taken care of with a good cleaning at the dentist. But if you have chronic gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease that is further along than gingivitis), come see our Westchester Periodontists. Our doctors provide some of the best gum disease treatment in Westchester County, and we’re happy to go over the information with you.
Dental scaling is a technique used by our skilled periodontists. They use a metal instrument that scrapes the plaque off the tooth above and below the gum line. Some periodontists may use an ultrasonic instrument that vibrates the plaque off of tooth using sonic vibrations. Once we remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth, we can begin to do some root planing. This is where the surface of the root of the tooth is smoothed out to eliminate plaque and biofilm development. A smooth surface keeps the tartar, plaque, and bacteria from adhering to the root’s surface. And, it allows the gums to reattach themselves to the teeth, protecting you from advanced gum disease.
In a healthy mouth, the distance from the gumline to where it attaches to the tooth should be no more than 1-3 millimeters deep. At 4 millimeters, you have a deep pocket and are susceptible to periodontal disease. These pockets can fill with plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) and will cause inflammation, pain, and eventual tooth loss. When plaque is in these deeper pockets, regular tooth brushing will not remove it. Excessive plaque buildup in your mouth will also cause chronic bad breath. Your dentist will be able to tell you when and if you are a candidate for scaling and root planing.
If your gums have wide pockets around the teeth, you may need scaling and root planing to help reduce the gap. Call your Scarsdale periodontist, serving all of Westchester County, today.Request an appointment
It may sound unpleasant, but the procedure generally causes minimal discomfort. If your gums are already sensitive or diseased, we can use a local anesthetic to numb the areas around the scaling and planing. We may also recommend a desensitizing toothpaste before and after the procedure. During the procedure, your periodontist will decide whether to place antibacterial fibers in the cleaned-out pockets to encourage healing and prevent infection. Another option is antibiotic medication, which we inject into the pockets. Depending on the level of gum disease in your mouth, you might need more than one visit to take care of all the scaling and planing.
You may have sensitive gums for a few days, as well as some bleeding. As your gums heal, the redness and swelling will go down and they will become pink again, as they reattach to your teeth. If the gum disease was not very advanced, the scaling and root planing will usually take care of it. But if it was a case of advanced periodontitis, there may be further procedures required. We will discuss your next visits after the treatment, to ensure you are receiving the care you need.
Whether you have had any scaling and planing done, or are trying to prevent gum disease, maintain your oral health with the following tips:
Dental scaling and root planing are simple, conservative procedures that will make a huge difference in your oral health. If you are experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, our Scarsdale periodontists will answer all your questions and help you decide what is best for your oral health. Give us a call and rest assured that your teeth and gums are our top priority!