If you suffer from gum disease, your oral health may quickly deteriorate. Most patients will then begin to suffer from severe tooth pains and constant bleeding because the flesh is dying off from bacterial infections. Over time, your teeth may also fall off from the inadequate support provided by the weak gums.
To avoid dealing with the extreme symptoms, you can visit your dentist to have affected gum areas scaled. On top of this, your dentist will conduct a root planing procedure to prevent additional bacteria from affecting your sensitive inner gums. It is noteworthy that these procedures are invasive to your dental structure. Further, the lack of reliable services can result in worse conditions than when you seek treatment. Therefore, you should be careful when finding a dentist to offer you services in Lomita, California, to ensure you choose an experienced professional.
Consulting Washington Dental is highly recommended, as you will partner with some of the best dentists. Our primary goal is to provide all patients with high-quality dental services and uphold their general oral health. On top of this, our medical team is trained to handle extreme cases with the necessary articulation, giving you the best chance to make a full recovery.
The Condition Treated by Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing processes are ideal treatments for gum disease, as they remove plaque and tartar to prevent bacteria from spreading. Additionally, root planing will close any gap between the teeth and your gum line to reduce the chances of re-infection.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Although you may understand the treatment process, learning of the symptoms associated with gum disease is also important. The information will help you know when to seek medical attention. Common symptoms of gum disease are:
Inflammation is a condition that arises when while blood cells die after fighting off harmful bacteria. The accumulation of dead white blood cells then creates pus, a fluid that accumulates in the gum tissue. Additionally, bacterial infections trigger the release of antiseptic fluid from your body. This reaction also contributes to inflammation.
Pulled-Back to Teeth from Your Gums
Due to the inflammation, your gums take up more space, leaving teeth more sunken in your mouth. This symptom is a common distinction between gum disease and other conditions.
Accumulated Plaque and Tartar
The primary source of bacteria in your gums comes from the tartar and plaque that accumulates around your teeth. Eventually, the plaque provides a conducive breeding ground for bacteria to develop and eventually spread into the gum line.
Pre-treatment Procedures to Follow Before Scaling and Root Planing
When you first see your dentist seeking remedies for gum disease, he/she will need to acquire some information. The details then act as a reference when creating a treatment plan for optimized services. Thus, you can expect to undergo several pre-treatment procedures that shed more light on your condition on the way forward.
Afterward, your dentist will be better equipped to decide on the best method to provide the treatment. Common pre-treatment processes include:
Conducting a Physical Examination
By the time most patients walk into a dental clinic for consultation, their gums will have moderate to severe infections. Subsequently, a dentist can easily identify the symptoms related to your condition and provide a way forward. Physical examinations are therefore an excellent starting point, as they provide a visual of the exact predicament.
While the process may seem simple and non-invasive, your dentist will be collecting relevant information regarding the level of infection. In extreme cases, the gums will be so inflamed that the teeth appear sunken.
Your gums may have also changed color to a bright red, as the inflammation causes pressure on your blood vessels. Loose teeth are also related to gum disease, as the root position becomes less stable due to the inflammation. Thus, a physical examination will include checking the sturdiness of teeth in their positions.
Additionally, your dentist may ask follow-up questions like whether you feel pain or discomfort when chewing or biting. This could be an early indication of risk in teeth falling off or exposed nerves caused by inflammation.
Discussing your Medical History and Symptoms
Each patient's case has unique qualities, so your dentist must gather sufficient information on your medical background. Afterward, he/she can make a sound decision when administering treatment by scaling and root planing. Although most cases involving gum disease stem from poor oral hygiene, some medical disorders are associated with the condition.
For example, patients suffering from scurvy, a condition caused by a lack of vitamin C, often develop severe gum disease. Other diseases like diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS may also trigger gum disease factors, leading to a necessity in treatment. When your dentist asks about your medical history, we recommend being as open as possible to create the best chances for a successful recovery.
Part of your medical history also includes any allergies and medication that you are currently on. For female patients, you should mention the use of any birth control at this stage if it applies to you. Thanks to this information, your dentist will know whether using a specific anesthetic drug is suitable for you during the invasive processes. If you are unsure of any pre-existing conditions, your clinic should help you contact the relevant sources or organize for several tests.
Apart from discussing your medical history, your dentist will narrow down on the current symptoms you experience. This helps him/her determine the stage of gum disease you are experiencing, from chronic to aggravated gingivitis. Using the information, he/she can also decide if scaling and root planing are the best treatment options for you. If less invasive options are available, you will benefit from the advice you receive.
Discussing the Treatment Process
Scaling and root planing require in-depth interaction with your gum tissue and tooth, meaning they are delicate procedures. However, your dentist is flexible with the process and understands that some patients would rather space the procedures out.
This is especially common if you intend on having the procedures done on many teeth. In this case, completing the scaling and root planing processes in one sitting may be not only time-consuming but also excruciatingly painful. However, you do not have to go through the ordeal while choosing to space them out. Subsequently, part of the pre-treatment process involves informing your dentist about your concerns and expectations. Laying the information out then allows the professional to recommend a suitable plan for your needs.
The Treatment Process
Treating gum disease using scaling and root planing is only necessary in adverse cases. Therefore, patients with mild conditions can receive remedies through alternative options like antibacterial mouthwash or deep oral cleaning. When your dentist recommends stating the scaling and root planing process, you may be apprehensive of the process based on the descriptions given. However, you should remember that your well-being is our priority regardless of the treatment to be administered.
Moments after arriving at the clinic for treatment, your dentist will take you through the procedures for the day. The small meeting aims at helping you calm down by understanding what the dentist will do at each stage. Please feel free to ask any questions or raise any concerns at this stage.
After ensuring that you are calm and ready for the treatment, you will receive your anesthesia to block nerves from signaling pain. As a result, you can worry less about undergoing a painful experience, despite how deep the dentist goes during root planing.
Usually, local anesthesia is sufficient to conduct minor surgery, particularly when working on a single tooth. However, advanced treatment procedures may require you to be under general anesthesia for easier maneuvering. For patients who have never experienced this before, remaining calm and receptive to instructions will go a long way in promoting an easy treatment process.
The Scaling Process
The first phase of treatment involves scaling the tooth to remove plaque molds. Usually, plaque develops when a patient fails to brush well. It is made up of hardened food particles and chemicals released by bacteria as by-products of sugary foods. In the initial stages, plaque may be a thin layer of the forming particles surrounding your teeth along the gum line.
However, continuous neglect will create a tougher version of plaque called tartar. This becomes more difficult to remove, as it easily gets stuck to your teeth. At the same time, tartar can spread to the deeper area of your gum pocket. Scaling should remove and clean off all the hardened tartar, leaving a clean tooth and gum line.
Traditionally, dentists use a device called a scaler to remove plaque from your teeth. Although the tool is effective, technological advances have led to new developments. Most dentists now use advanced scaling devices powered electronically. Their design incorporates vibrations that should shake off all plaque from the affected tooth. Moreover, the scaling device provides a range of vibration intensity depending on the type of plaque to be removed. Bacteria cannot spread with the removed plaque, as it lacks sufficient breeding grounds around your tooth and gum line.
The procedure may take a few minutes per tooth to complete. Each duration depends on whether your dentist removes tartar or regular plaque, as tartar takes longer to clean off. Upon concluding the procedure, you may proceed to root planing. Alternatively, the dentist may schedule the subsequent appointment on a different date to give you enough recovery time.
The Root Planing Process
After tooth scaling, the plaque and tartar surrounding your teeth may be too much. This creates a gap between your enamel and the gum line that leads to an unnatural gap. If the open space is not corrected, bacteria will still thrive within your gums and cause even more damage than before. Dentists prevent this occurrence by conducting a root planing procedure.
This process aims to ensure that your gum line naturally attaches to the tooth, leaving no space for bacteria to grow and spread. Planning each tooth will have the dentist insert a tool inside the gum line to align your tooth as required. Naturally, the invasive procedure may cause extreme pain and discomfort without using local anesthesia. Thus, this is the stage where anesthetics are necessary for painless and easier treatment.
Further, root planing is more time-consuming than scaling because each tooth should fit around the gums snugly. Subsequently, your dentist may need to spend a significant amount of time on each tooth for a successful outcome. If one appointment is not enough to finish the entire process, you can schedule an additional session to follow up on treatment.
Overall, root planing plays a significant role in closing the gap between your teeth and the gum lines. On top of preventing bacteria from breeding, the procedure also reduces inflammation. This is because the closed spaces leave little surface area for the gums to swell or for pus to collect in pockets.
Potential Risks in Administering Treatment
Although your dentist does their best when conducting scaling and root planing procedures, several risks may arise. You should note even though they are recognized as potential risks, and most patients will not have to deal with them. Some complications include:
During the root planing procedure, your dentist uses tools to remove plaque on the internal gum line. Sometimes, the tool may protrude further than anticipated, leading to nerve damage or severe irritation. Although you may use pain medication to remedy the discomfort, you could develop semi-permanent tooth sensitivity.
Erosion of the Tooth Enamel
Similarly, scaling aims at removing stubborn plaque from the tooth enamel surface to prevent bacteria from breeding. However, if your dentist opts for an electric scaling machine, you may experience significant enamel erosion. The risk is more prevalent among patients with weak enamels from insufficient calcium in the body. This means that their teeth are often more prone to cracking or breaking, exposing them to bacteria.
While the risks may sometimes be inevitable, your dentist will do their best to deliver the best results through applying care and skill during the procedures.
Care Tips to Observe After the Scaling and Root Planing Procedure
As discussed, your dental procedure will be invasive because your dentist will have to scale your teeth in place. Therefore, patients who have scaling and root planing procedures are done on multiple teeth should be keen on upholding oral hygiene after the surgery. After making a full recovery, several aftercare tips can help you avoid facing a recurring gum disease condition. They include:
Take the Prescribed Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relief Medicine
After the anesthesia medication wears off, your nerves become receptive to pain again. This leads to painful episodes that could trigger extreme discomfort, particularly on the first day of recovery. Most patients also report throbbing headaches stemming from the painful gums and jawbones.
Your dentist understands the possible effects of scaling and root planing, and will provide painkillers. Alternatively, you may receive a prescription for pain relief medication over the counter. Regardless of the mode of instruction, we recommend using the medicine as directed for full benefit.
Similarly, your gums are prone to inflammation after the procedures because of accumulated pus. You can manage the effect by taking the prescribed drugs, leaving you feeling more comfortable. Although the anti-inflammatory medication may not be prescribed for every patient, completing your dose is still important to prevent future complications.
Taking antibiotics is also crucial for proper health restoration. Typically, the area operated on will be sensitive and exposed to disease-causing bacteria a few days after the dental procedures. You will therefore need to avert the risk of re-infection by taking your antibiotic pills as directed.
Maintain your Brushing and Flossing Routine
Contrary to most people's belief, patients should uphold their oral hygiene by brushing and flossing at least twice a day after scaling and root planing. The fear of following through with cleaning your teeth comes from the exposed gum tissue. However, leaving your mouth not brushed does more harm than good, as bacteria can easily breed and spread.
Hence, we advise you to carefully brush around the affected teeth and follow it up with flossing. If your dentist is concerned that brushing would irritate the sensitive gums, they can recommend alternative cleaning methods like antibacterial mouthwash.
Avoid Hot Foods or Drinks
The first few days after tooth scaling and planing may be difficult to get through because the gums are sensitive to multiple external factors. Among these include extremely high temperatures introduced into the mouth when eating or drinking. Due to the harsh conditions, the operated area may be more painful or irritated, leading to sharp pains.
Your dentist will discourage you from eating or drinking food at high temperatures to prevent complications. Similarly, cold food like ice cream can trigger your nerves and create tooth sensitivity. Consequently, you will find it difficult to bite, chew or even breathe with your mouth open based on the damaged nerves. You can avoid these consequences by eating room temperature foods only until the gums heal completely.
Avoid Applying High Pressure on Your Teeth
Further, applying pressure on your teeth and jaws may be detrimental to your recovery. This may occur when biting or chewing hard foods or opening items with your teeth. Since your gums are already weak before seeking treatment, the extra force could weaken your teeth more.
Some patients may lose their teeth based on the dislodged root in the gum tissue. Following your dentist's orders is essential to proper recovery, as losing your tooth results in additional treatment costs.
Avoid Tobacco Use
Although many different substances weaken your gums, tobacco has led to numerous gum disease cases. The substance also interferes with the general health of your tooth structure, making it prone to falling off or slowly decaying. You should also note that smoking leaves tar deposits in between your teeth. Over time, the deposits become breeding grounds for bacteria that then cause gum disease.
If you are highly dependent on tobacco, we recommend speaking to your dentist for alternative options. Upon gradual non-use of the substance, you will notice improved oral health and less discomfort in your gums as you bite and chew.
Visit Your Dentist for Follow Up Appointments
Since scaling and root planing treatment takes time to provide the desired outcome, your dentist will need to monitor recovery. During the first few weeks after the procedure, your gums are vulnerable to infections, bleeding, or root dislocation. The complications may affect you despite taking care of your oral hygiene to the best standard possible.
On the other hand, your dentist is trained to conduct routine physical examinations and look out for outstanding tooth and gum appearances. Due to this, they can point out a problem, if any, that could jeopardize your recovery. All these details are available during your subsequent appointments, so we advise you to follow up on each dental visit.
Contact a General Dentist Near Me
Scaling and root planing procedures can be pivotal in your oral health, as they aim to eradicate the spread of gum disease. However, since the processes are intricate and require precision, you want to choose experienced professionals. With their help, you will understand the purpose for each step taken and the outcomes of the entire treatment.
You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid having to undergo advanced dental processes. Despite this, your dentist should be ready to handle your case adequately, regardless of its severity.
At Washington Dental, you will have great chances at curbing the development of gum disease and bacteria spread in the mouth. Our years of practice in scaling and root planing have enabled us to provide reliable services to patients seeking these in Lomita, California.
Additionally, we take time to create a personalized treatment plan to fit all your needs. Upon reaching out to us, we will be happy to schedule the initial consultation and begin planning your scaling and root planing procedure. Contact us today at 310-326-5183 for more information.