Often the initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is Scaling and Root Planing (sometimes referred to as a “Deep Cleaning”). Scaling and root planing is a very thorough cleaning underneath the gumline. Local anesthetic (Novocaine) is usually required. Scaling and root planing is a nonsurgical procedure.The objective of scaling and root planing is to remove the causes of infection such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, When this inflammation is lessened the pocket depths are reduced making it easier for the patient to remove plaque. The main purpose of scaling and root planing is to reduce the pocket depths so that the patient can better remove bacterial plaque from around the teeth. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or as a preventative measure. It is commonly preformed on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.
Dr. Alvarengawill 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. Alvarenga may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.
Antibiotics may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause Periodontitis. Some times Dr. Alvarenga prescribes an oral antibiotic (pill) and sometimes an antibiotic powder is placed into the periodontal pocket. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing. When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Dr. Alvarenga to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.
If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many benefits. The main benefit of scaling and root planing is the reduction in pocket depth. When pockets exceed 3 mm in depth, it is difficult for patient to properly remove bacterial plaque. This increases the risk that periodontal disease will increase and the pockets will get deeper. As the pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to grow, causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body which further damages gingival and bone tissue. This all eventually leads to tooth loss. If the gums are very swollen from the periodontal infection, the scaling and root planing will help reduce that inflammation and make the pockets shallower. The patient then takes over with good brushing and flossing. This may be all that is needed. Remember that the real treatment for periodontal disease is provided by the patient and that is good brushing and flossing. Scaling and root planing may also 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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