Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment
Before you come to the periodontist, routine professional dental cleanings by your dental hygienist in Wichita include scaling, or the careful removal of plaque and tartar from around the gumline. Tartar in particular can only be removed at a professional cleaning, as brushing and flossing alone can’t do the trick. However, if you have symptoms of gum disease, your teeth may need an even more advanced cleaning called dental scaling and root planing.
The Effects of Gum Disease
Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth, providing a barrier that keeps bacteria away from the roots. When gums become diseased, they begin to pull away from the teeth, forming deeper pockets where bacteria can grow. That’s how plaque and tartar can build up beneath the gum line.
Scaling and Root Planing
The American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health can sometimes be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through a non-surgical periodontal treatment called scaling and root planing. Non-surgical periodontal treatment does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal health.
Scaling and root planing is different than a regular cleaning or periodontal maintenance. A scaling and root planing procedure may need to be done in more than one appointment. The dental hygienist will do the scaling and root planing by carefully removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and smoothing the roots of the teeth to remove bacterial toxins. This will allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth. Typically, this is done with a local anesthetic to make sure that the patient is comfortable.
This kind of deep cleaning has been described as the gold standard of treatment for patients with gum disease. To get the gums healthy again, all that gunk needs to be cleaned out, which is what dental scaling and root planing do. While routine scaling helps prevent gum disease, scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for existing gum disease. In cases of severe periodontitis, it may be recommended before gum surgery by the periodontist.
The scaling and root planing may be followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials, and systemic antibiotics, as needed on a case-by-case basis. Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients can be stabilized long-term with the establishment of an ongoing maintenance therapy regimen to sustain oral health.
Removing Tartar Is Like Pulling a Splinter
If you’ve ever had a splinter in your finger, you know that getting it out isn’t very comfortable, but as soon as it’s gone, you feel instant relief. Dental scaling and root planing is the same way. It may require multiple appointments and a local anesthetic to eliminate discomfort, but it leaves your teeth and gums feeling wonderful.
Afterward: Taking Care of Your Gums
Getting your gums healthy again is a process, and the dentist is your best resource. After treatment with your Wichita periodontist, whether it’s surgical or just scaling and root planing, we’ll want to pay close attention to your gums through regular maintenance visits. Every two to four months, you’ll go to the dentist for routine cleanings and examinations where the hygienist checks the pocket depth of your gums.
Getting Your Healthy Smile Back — And Keeping It!
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention, whether you’ve had it before or not. A good oral hygiene routine is critical, so make sure you’re brushing the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, replacing worn-out toothbrushes, and scheduling regular dental appointments. Avoiding smoking will also help you keep your gums healthy. To learn more about our periodontal practice, check our business page. Make sure to get directions before you head to our location in Wichita.