Teeth Cleaning & Gum Related Problems
Your Dentalist may recommend that you get your teeth scaled. This procedure is generally conducted along with root planing. In more common terms, these procedures are known as a “deep cleaning.” Plaque and calculus provide an irregular surface that allows the bacteria to attach easily. Scaling and root planing are done to remove the plaque and calculus which helps to treat chronic periodontal disease (otherwise known as gum disease).
If left untreated, chronic periodontal disease can lead to:
- bone and tissue loss
- tooth loss
- loose teeth
- moving teeth
- For some patients, scaling and root planing can cause discomfort. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the portion of your mouth that is being worked on.
- Your Dentalist will first conduct teeth scaling. This involves scraping the plaque from your teeth and in any large pockets that have developed between your teeth and gums.
- Next, your Dentalist will do the root planing. Your Dentalist will smooth the tooth roots using a scaling tool with a combination of ultrasonic scalers and hand instruments. Ultrasonic instruments are electric or air-powered.
- This smoothing helps your gums to reattach to your teeth.
- Your Dentalist may also recommend additional treatment depending on the health of your teeth and gums. Your Dentalist may use antimicrobial agents in your mouth or prescribe oral antibiotics for you to take for several days to help you heal faster.
- Your Dentalist may also perform a process called host modulation in which additional medication is administered directly into your gums to help correct the negative effects of long-term periodontitis or reduce the chances of infection following your procedure.
- Sometimes, scaling and root planing can be completed in one visit. This usually is possible if you have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. However, if you have periodontitis, multiple visits are usually needed. The periodontist typically will do one-quarter of your mouth (a quadrant) at each visit.
For two to three days after the treatment, you may have some soreness and sensitive teeth to hot and cold temperatures.
An antiseptic mouth rinse after scaling and root planing is prescribed. This is especially likely if your gums are very sore. However, you should continue brushing and flossing as usual. You can expect some minor bleeding in the first few days after scaling and root planing. The bleeding usually stops within a week.
The risks of teeth scaling are minimal. You may be at risk for infection following the procedure, so your Dentalist may prescribe an antibiotic or a special mouthwash to use for a few days or weeks.
Following dental scaling and root planing, contact your Dentalist immediately if you experience any of the following:
- worsening pain
- the area doesn’t heal as expected
- you have a fever
You may also experience pain and sensitivity for a few days following the procedure as well as tenderness in your gums.
Any side effects of the procedure should clear up within a few weeks. If they don’t, contact your Dentalist.
Teeth scaling and root planing are common procedures to treat chronic periodontal disease. Your Dentalist can perform this outpatient procedure at the Dentalist’s office with or without local anesthesia.
You may need more than one appointment to complete the procedure. You may experience mild side effects following the procedure for a few days or a week.