It is required for you to visit your dentist at least once every six months for your regular dental checkup assuming that you have a healthy teeth and gums. Your dentist knows the underlying effects of having gingivitis or other gum diseases. The gums that hold the teeth in place are weakened, therefore affecting the teeth and the supporting bones. There are various causes of gum disease such as poor oral hygiene and the consumption of certain kinds of food. It’s a good thing that there is an alternative to tooth extraction to save the gums from bacteria. Dental scaling and root planing may be a better solution for people who want to cut off the root of a more serious gum disease before it's too late.
Dental scaling is most applicable for minor gum diseases or for the first stages of gum infection. Scaling and root planing are also recognized as conventional and non-surgical types of dental procedure that aim to save the teeth from further decay during the early stages of gum disease development. It removes the dental plaque, tartar and calculus using periodontal scalers and curettes. But how bad is plaque, really, and why should you get rid of it during its first signs?
What about plaque?
Dental plaque is a layer of discolored substance found in the natural teeth's surface as well as orthodontic appliances. It is a thin film of organized bacteria from glycoprotein and polysaccharides, substances which are abundant in sugar. Since the bacteria has an organized structure found within the matrix of acids, it is almost impossible to remove plaque through rinsing or dental sprays. Another material, the materia alba, is the same as plaque and can cause the same damage but they are easily removed and rinsed since it is not an organized structure.
No one is spared from developing plaque and materia alba, as it is a normal consequence of eating. Through proper dental hygiene practices such as toothbrushing and flossing, these materials can be eliminated from your teeth and gums. Warned, however, that after 24 hours that these impurities are untouched, the plaque will start to absorb the minerals from your saliva, prompting the formation or tartar or calculus. The hardened material is not easily brushed away or rinsed, that you may need your dentist's help to remove them.
Accumulation of plaque and materia alba is more prevalent in the gum line since it is nearer to the gum tissues, thus infecting the gums. When the gums are infected, they tend to soften and inflame, a condition known as gingivitis. When your dentist say you have it, it means that you should take necessary steps to treat it as it is the start of your dental health's decline. It is important to note that old age is not the cause of tooth loss, rather it is because of the periodontal problems.
Scaling and Planing as Treatments
There are a number of steps that involves the treatment of periodontal diseases and the first one includes the removal of the materials that cause it. At the same time, this is a preventive step from chronic inflammation which can be harmful for your gums and overall systemic health.
How is it done?
The procedure is going to sting, so numbing the affected area before the actual removal is important. Also, a quarter up to half of the portion of your mouth should be cleaned in one dental appointment. This will leave you as comfortable as you could while the dentist is doing the treatment. Performing instrumentations for the whole portion of your mouth is not advisable due to some inconveniences such as inability to eat or drink.
The microbial film is removed this time through scaling. Scaling may involve manual or ultrasonic instruments which basically surveys your mouth and gums to detect plaque bacteria. It also removes the tartar at the gumline and cleans up the visible parts of your teeth.
Root planing is scaling the tooth to the roots to decrease gum inflammation. The procedure will extend to the root surface to smoothen out your teeth from plaque bacteria.
If the dental condition hasn't developed yet into a periodontal disease, you can still undergo the procedure through oral prophylaxis or the regular teeth cleaning that involves only plaque removal. Since patients who are qualified for oral prophylaxis do not have a gum disease, there is no need for them to undergo root planing.
Dental scaling and root planing are for people who have minor gum problems. It is necessary to talk to your dentist about your dental condition and learn about the pros and cons of the procedure, since you may have a unique oral condition.