Periodontal disease (gum disease) occurs when plaque and tartar infect the gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can pull away from teeth, damage tissue, and even cause tooth loss. Some of the most common treatments for periodontal disease are non-surgical, deep cleaning procedures called scaling and root planing.
This procedure is completed with a scaler tool, which can be manual or ultrasonic. Plaque and tartar are scraped off of teeth with a scaler, both above and below the gum line.
Root planing uses a curette to smooth the surface of the tooth root. Plaque and tartar have a more difficult time sticking to this smooth surface which also works in helping the gums reattach to teeth.
Scaling and root planing can be uncomfortable and often a local anesthetic is used during their completion. For this reason, only one or two quadrants of the mouth undergo treatment per visit. Your dentist may also recommend a mouth rinse or medication to deal with gum sensitivity in the days following these procedures.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
It is easy to prevent the development of periodontal disease in the first place by following a few simple steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss your teeth once a day
- Keep a healthy diet
- Avoid tobacco use
- See your dentist for regular check-ups