According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about half of American adults suffer from some kind of periodontal disease. In mild cases of gum disease, conservative treatments such as a simple professional cleaning and flossing more often is enough to reverse the symptoms. However, more severe cases require a special procedure called scaling and root planing, available from your Pekin, IL dentists at Total Dental Care.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Plaque, the beginning stage of tooth decay, is a colorless, sticky film which covers the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly help keep plaque off of the teeth. However, the plaque which is not removed hardens into tartar, the next stage of tooth decay. Tartar cannot be removed with brushing or flossing and only a professional dental cleaning can remove it from the teeth. Eventually, the bacteria in plaque and tartar begin to irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, which eventually leads to periodontitis if left untreated. The symptoms of gum disease include:
- red, swollen gums
- bleeding gums
- bad breath with no apparent cause
- sensitive and loose teeth
- receding gums
- separation of the gums from the teeth
- pain while chewing
When is scaling and root planing necessary?
This procedure effectively treats moderate to severe tooth decay. Scaling and root planing cleans the teeth’s surfaces down the roots below the gum line and between the gums. The procedure takes place using manual scraping tools and, in some cases, an ultrasonic tool which uses high-frequency vibrations to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. In particularly stubborn cases, your dentist uses antibiotic fibers placed into the pockets between your gums and teeth. The fibers remain for a week before removal, during which time they help prevent any further infection.
How can I keep my teeth healthy after scaling and root planing?
Keeping plaque and tartar from forming on the teeth is as easy as brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once, and seeing your dentist for regular examinations and cleanings. Depending on your situation, you may need to see your Pekin dentist more often than the recommended twice a year. Your dentist can help you determine what the best course of treatment is for your condition and lifestyle.
Acquiring a healthy mouth is as easy as asking your dentist about scaling and root planing. For more information, please consult with Dr. Stephen E. Dickey at Total Dental Care in Pekin, IL. Call (309) 347-7055 to schedule your appointment today!