Scaling and root planing can treat mild to moderate gum disease by eliminating plaque and tartar buildup underneath the gum line. At Dental Wellness of Westchase in Tampa, FL, we are passionate about helping our patients achieve optimal oral health so they can maintain their beautiful smiles for a lifetime. Catching gum disease in its earliest stages can stop the side effects in their tracks and prevent more serious conditions.
What Is Scaling and Root Planing?
Also known as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing is designed to remove plaque buildup and unhealthy bacteria from the base of the tooth and below the gumline. When the gums are infected, they often pull away from the base of the tooth, allowing food and bacteria to accumulate there. As the pockets widen, infection can worsen and result in soft and hard tissue degeneration. Our doctors offer scaling and root planing as a conservative, minimally invasive treatment to reverse these effects.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious bacterial infection that affects the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. While gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can be easily treated and managed with regular deep cleanings, later stages are not handled quite so easily. Once it progresses to advanced periodontitis, the disease can cause side effects such as tooth and jawbone loss. As the infection spreads, it can enter the bloodstream and contribute to serious systemic issues, such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Keep an eye out for symptoms such as:
- Gum swelling
- Red and tender gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain when biting down or chewing
- Gums that frequently bleed when brushing or flossing
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Tooth loss
The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Failing to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, or visit your dentist for biannual examinations and cleanings can create the conditions that gum disease needs to develop. However, even those who follow steady oral hygiene habits are susceptible to bacterial infection if they have a family history of gum disease, have hormonal inconsistencies, maintain a poor diet, smoke, or use medications that cause dry mouth.
Treating gum disease early and in a timely manner with conservative treatments can help you avoid more invasive treatments, such as gum surgery.
How Scaling and Root Planing Works
If you are diagnosed with the early, mild stages of gum disease, the doctor will recommend scaling and root planing. During this treatment, the hygienist will use specialized tools to remove plaque buildup and bacteria from pockets of periodontal disease along the gumline. Another tool is used to smooth the root surface of the tooth so the gums can successfully reattach to the base of the tooth. This will prevent further food and bacteria from getting trapped. If you struggle with dental sensitivity or anxiety, we offer a variety of sedation dentistry options to ensure optimal comfort during your treatment.
The hygienist will then apply a topical antibiotic called Arestin to treat any remaining infection. The doctor may also recommend lifestyle and oral hygiene adjustments to help maintain your oral health. We may also recommend more frequent cleanings every four months to help manage side effects until the symptoms fade. Treating gum disease early and in a timely manner with conservative treatments can help you avoid more invasive treatments, such as gum surgery.
Protect Your Oral Health
If you recognize any of the symptoms above and are concerned you may have gum disease, please contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment. You can conveniently contact us online or give us a call at (813) 855-2273.