Scaling And Planing May Heal Your Gum Disease

Posted on: 17 February 2016

If you've been lax about caring for your teeth, you might be developing gum disease. Some signs of this condition are red, swollen gums and bleeding when you brush your teeth. You'll need the help of your dentist to reverse gum disease, and you want to do it in the early stages before surgery and bone grafts become necessary. Scaling and planing are two gum disease treatments your dentist may recommend. Here's what you need to know.

Start With A Dental Cleaning

The first step to dealing with gum disease is to have your teeth cleaned. The hygienist will scrap all the plaque and tartar from your teeth, which helps reduce irritation to your gums. If plaque isn't removed, it turns into tartar, which is a hard substance that causes irritation and inflammation of your gum tissue. Regular dental cleaning and daily brushing keeps plaque at bay. It also keeps bacteria in your mouth at a minimum and that helps reduce the risk of infection in the pockets that develop at your gum line when you have gum disease. While dental cleaning and good oral hygiene are important, they are not enough to reverse gum disease once you have developed it. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to fight any infections you have. In addition, you'll probably undergo the scaling and planing procedure.

Undergo Scaling And Planing

Scaling and planing are indicated when your gum disease has progressed to the point where plaque has hardened underneath your gums and is causing constant irritation. Scaling is when the dentist or hygienist scrapes tartar buildup off your teeth under the gums. Planing involves smoothing off the rough edges of the root portions of your teeth under the gum. When your teeth are smooth, there are fewer nooks and crannies to harbor bacteria and foster infection. Also, gum tissue can reattach to your teeth easier when the teeth are smooth.

These procedures are done in your dentist's office under local anesthesia, so you won't experience much discomfort. While your gums may be tender when the anesthetic wears off, your gums should heal quickly. Then your gums should have a healthy pink appearance and be reattached to your teeth. Your dentist may do your entire mouth during a single visit or you may have a fourth or half of your teeth done each time.

Scaling and planing can't help advanced cases of gum disease. If you've developed a more severe case, your dentist may need to do a gum graft or bone graft to restore the health of your mouth. Scaling and planing helps reverse mild to moderate gum disease, but the procedures won't prevent gum disease from coming back. To do that, you must practice good oral hygiene in order to keep plaque and tartar from building up on your teeth again.