scaling and root planing
There are around 25 species of oral bacteria living in your mouth at any given time, each with its own way to damage your teeth. As these bacteria grow and multiply, they emit acids that erode the protective enamel on your dental surfaces. This erosion creates cavities, which allow bacteria to invade the tooth, leading to pain and infection.
Food residues and simple sugars act as the food source for oral bacteria. Since food grime and plaque typically accumulates along the gumline, bacteria can eventually make their way underneath the gum tissue, where they trigger an inflammatory reaction. To protect your body from inflammation and infection, the gums respond to bacteria below the gumline by slowly pulling away from the teeth. This forms gingival pockets, which are small areas between the teeth and the gum tissue. The more advanced the infection, the deeper these pockets become, making the teeth unstable and more prone to sensitivity, deeply rooted infections, and gum recession. Unless Piitsburgh dentist Dr. Pounds takes immediate action to provide periodontal treatment, problems like tooth loss and abscesses could be in your near future.
The Scaling and Planing Procedure
To stop gum disease in its tracks, Dr. Rebecca Pounds, one of the premiere dentists in Pittsburgh, recommends scaling and planing. Considered the “gold standard” for gum disease treatment, scaling and root planing is designed to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from within the gingival pockets so that the gums can heal. Much like removing a splinter from a finger or a toe, deep cleaning below the gum line instantly relieves inflammation so that the gums can return to normal health.
During scaling and planing, Dr. Pounds uses special tools to clear away plaque and tartar buildup on the dental surfaces above and below the gumline. After the teeth are free of plaque and tartar, Dr. Pounds will “plane” the teeth to smooth the root surfaces, removing any easy shelter for bacteria. Cavities underneath the gumline area will be cleaned and filled, and the teeth will be cleaned and polished. Afterward, Dr. Pounds may recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to maximize the effects of the treatment.
Since scaling and planing can be time-consuming, Dr. Pounds may work on your mouth one quadrant at a time, but ultimately your treatment plan depends on your personal periodontal health. Following a careful oral hygiene routine after the procedure will help your gums to bounce back quickly—becoming firm, healthy, and comfortable again in a few days.
For more information about scaling and planing, contact the office of Rebecca L. Pounds, DDS. With the right treatment, your smile can become healthy and beautiful again.