Improve Gum Health and Reduce Gum Disease with Root Planing and Scaling

Improve Gum Health and Reduce Gum Disease with Root Planing and Scaling By Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. on September 03, 2014

Though many people experience bleeding gums while brushing and flossing, this should not be considered normal or something to ignore as this is one of the first signs of gum disease. Gum disease typically develops from poor oral hygiene, including skipping regular dental cleanings. Sometimes dental anxiety can be an underlying cause of gum disease; it can prevent sufferers from seeking dental care. If you suffer from dental anxiety, sedation dentistry can help keep you comfortable and relaxed during your next dental visit, or while undergoing gum disease treatment, such as root planing and scaling. Root planing and scaling is a deep cleaning procedure and one of the most successful treatments for eliminating gum disease and improving oral health.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is essentially an infection of the gums caused by plaque, tartar buildup, and bacteria. As plaque and tartar, the mineralized form of plaque, collect along the gum line, the gums are slowly pushed away from the teeth. As more plaque and tartar collect, the gums are pushed further away, creating pockets between the teeth and gums. As the pockets widen, more plaque and tartar settle between the teeth, making the teeth vulnerable to bacteria and decay. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and abscesses around the tooth roots.

Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

Mild to moderate gum disease is often easily treated with root planing and scaling. Root planing and scaling is used to deeply clean the teeth, well below the gum line, to remove built up plaque and tartar, and reduce pockets between the teeth and gums. 

Generally, a local anesthetic is used during root planing and scaling to numb the gums and ensure patient comfort. Sedation dentistry techniques can also be used to further increase patient comfort or reduce dental anxiety symptoms. The root planing and scaling treatment itself consists of scraping away plaque and tartar down to the tooth root using an ultrasonic tool or traditional scraping tool. For those with large pockets, antibiotic fibers will be placed to help reduce gum infection and improve healing. These fibers will be removed about seven days after treatment.

Preventing Gum Disease after Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

Root planing and scaling is only a means to restore the health of your gums and is not a permanent cure for gum disease. Gum disease will come back if the teeth and gums are not properly cared for. You can help reduce the risk of developing gum disease by following these tips:

  • Don't skip flossing: Flossing is important to gum health and should be done daily. Be sure to floss as far down the gum line as possible on each side of each tooth.
  • Brush at least twice a day: Brush at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time. Brush well along the gum line to remove plaque.
  • See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings: See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings to keep your mouth free of plaque and tartar that home brushing and flossing can miss.
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing to help reduce bacteria and gum disease.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about gum disease treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Danny O'Keefe.