Deep Teeth Cleaning: Scaling and Root Planing
Even if it has been a while since your last teeth cleaning, there’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Preserve Family Dentistry is the perfect place for anyone who hasn’t been to the dentist in a while. If that’s the case, it’s also possible you may need a slightly different treatment called scaling and root planing. But no need to worry: our gentle dentists in Lincoln, Nebraska will keep you calm and comfortable. You won’t even feel like you’re at the dentist. Book an appointment today at our East Lincoln office.
If you’re concerned that you may need scaling and root planing, read on to learn more about this procedure.
The Progression of Gum Disease
Over time, our mouths naturally develop a build-up of plaque and tartar. Plaque and tartar are like a playground for bacteria – it causes bacteria to grow and allows it to remain in a person’s mouth. This can negatively affect a person’s gums significantly. It irritates the gums and often causes them to become inflamed and bleed much more easily than they should. Gums that are affected by this may bleed while a person brushes their teeth, or even during something as simple as eating. This bleeding is an indicator of the early stages of gingivitis, a mild gum disease.
If a person doesn’t see the dentist about gingivitis, it will naturally progress into further forms of gum disease. The inflammation will slowly travel to the roots of the tooth, causing something called a periodontal pocket. These pockets allow bacteria to thrive even more since they’re covered up by a person’s gums. This progression will slowly lead to periodontal disease, the namesake of periodontal pockets. Periodontal disease happens beneath a person’s gums, causing severe damaged to the teeth. After a period of periodontal disease, a person’s teeth will loosen substantially, ultimately preceding the loss of teeth.
Scaling and root planning comes in before the progression of periodontal disease, so we hope.
What is scaling and root planing?
Dentists perform scaling and root planing to stop the progression of periodontal disease. Scaling is the process by which dentists remove tartar from the surface of a person’s teeth. Root planning consists of smoothing out the surfaces of your tooth’s root and removing any tooth structure that has become infected. Through this process, the dentists polish and clean the teeth beneath the gums to stop the growth of harmful bacteria. This deep teeth cleaning removes bacteria from the periodontal pockets. Doing so allows a person’s gums to heal and grow stronger.
Does scaling and root planing hurt?
Preserve Family Dentistry is a team of experts in gentle dental care. Each person’s gums and teeth are different, but we offer a handful of options for your comfort. We’ve got everything from sedation dentistry to pillows, blankets, TVs, headphones, and more. Our dentists value making your experience as comfortable as possible, even if you’re anxious or have a dental phobia.
How much discomfort you experience depends on the severity of your periodontal disease and how abnormal your root surfaces are. Be sure to set up a free consultation with us or give us a call if you’re concerned about your discomfort. We’re delighted to talk you through the options!
If the pockets aren’t very deep, it’s also possible for there to be no discomfort at all. For many scaling and root planing procedures we numb our patients, but that isn’t the case for every treatment.
How long does scaling and root planing take?
Dentists will sometimes perform deep teeth cleaning by way of multiple appointments. If the dentists need to, they’ll do a certain amount of teeth cleaning per appointment. Unlike regular teeth cleaning, scaling and root planing happens in parts. The dentist may work only on a particular part of a patient’s mouth for a given appointment. This depends on how bad the periodontal pockets and the tooth structures are. By doing this, dentists can offer shorter appointments and more manageable amounts of a person’s mouth.
What should I expect after my appointment?
You can usually expect some mild discomfort or soreness after deep teeth cleaning. Often patients report sensitive teeth and a small amount of bleeding. We recommend using over-the-counter painkillers to relieve any pain or discomfort. If the pain is severe, we’re able to offer stronger painkillers. Your dentist may recommend that you wait to brush and floss, or at least do so more lightly.
The Difference Between Teeth Cleaning and Deep Cleaning
If a person maintains their oral health well, they shouldn’t have to endure deep teeth cleaning. Many confuse scaling and root planing with regular teeth cleaning. However, you can probably start to see how different the two processes are.
Most people require teeth cleaning every six months. But if a person has developed periodontal disease, we recommend coming in for deep teeth cleaning every three months.
In some cases, periodontal pockets become incredibly hard to reach. When this happens, it becomes necessary to perform small surgery to gain access to the pocket and clean it correctly. Periodontal surgery is performed under a local anesthetic. After this surgery, the gums should go back into place and heal normally again.
What To Do If You Think You Have Gum Disease
If you’re concerned that you may have gingivitis or periodontal disease, you can give us a call. We can talk to you about your symptoms and set up a free consultation.
Brushing and flossing effectively will help prevent or stop the progression of gum disease. You can also use an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine to help keep your teeth and gums bacteria-free. It’s important to note that most adults have some degree of gum disease. With that being said, you should avoid gum disease at all costs, as it has a terrible impact on your oral and overall health.
If you clean your teeth carefully, you should be able to avoid deep teeth cleaning and periodontal treatment. Regular checkups can help you avoid these problems. As mentioned earlier, our dentists are excellent at taking care of you and making you feel comfortable, so even if you don’t like the dentist, you might consider giving us a try. Talk to us: 402-413-7000.
Check out the “What is a Deep Cleaning” video