A 2015 study by the ADA showed that periodontal disease affects about 47.2% of adults above 30 in the US. If left untreated over a long period, gum disease can lead to significant gum loss, receding gums, bone loss, and even tooth loss. Even worse, periodontal bacteria can spread to other body parts, increasing your risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes, stroke, certain cancers, and heart disease.
Fortunately, when caught early, gum disease can be treated and sometimes reversed before it causes significant damage. Scaling and root planing is an effective non-surgical treatment for infected and inflamed gums. Keep reading to learn more about this treatment.
Since gum disease progresses gradually, you may not see it until the advanced stages. Knowing the signs and symptoms of gum disease can help you recognize them and seek treatment promptly. See a dentist near you if you experience:
Gum disease is commonly caused by poor dental hygiene, allowing the harmful bacteria to multiply and spread. These bacteria mix with saliva and other debris to form plaque – a thin, colorless film of bacteria. If not cleaned, plaque builds up and hardens to tartar – a hard deposit that forms on teeth and around the gums. Tartar can be removed professionally.
If not removed quickly, these bacterial deposits irritate and infect the gums. They also accumulate under the gum line, pulling the gums from the teeth and creating deep gum pockets. Over time, more bacterial deposits accumulate below the gums, infecting the underlying tissues and bone. It can make your teeth feel loose or fall off and cause other complications.
Periodontal therapy procedures help remove bacterial deposits deep in the gum pockets and help the gums to reattach snugly around the teeth. It stops the infection from spreading further and allows your gums to heal. If there is significant damage, scaling, and root planing can be used alongside other treatments.
Since the procedure entails removing plaque and tartar above and below the gum line, it can be uncomfortable. The dentist will numb your gums to prevent pain throughout the procedure. Based on the severity of your condition, the procedure can be performed on one or two appointments.
Next, the dentist will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove bacterial deposits from the teeth and gums. The ultrasonic scaler consists of a wand with a thin scaling tip that produces soft ultrasonic vibrations that loosen the tartar and plaque for easy removal.
The vibrations are combined with a powerful stream of water to remove plaque and calculus in deep periodontal pockets effectively. Ultrasonic dental scalers are more efficient in cleaning deep periodontal pockets than manual scalers.
The dentist can also inject an antibiotic in the pockets after the procedure to prevent re-infections and promote healing. You can also get a prescription for oral antibiotics and obtain Oral DNA testing. If the damage is significant, the dentist can recommend other procedures like flap surgery or soft tissue grafting.
Use the following tips to promote faster healing and prevent new gum infections:
For more information about gum disease and scaling and root planing treatments, contact Yelena Popkova, DDS – Merrimack.