Also called periodontal disease, gum disease occurs when harmful bacteria invade the area below the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth and to recede. As the gums move down the tooth surface, they expose more of the tooth to the harmful bacteria. Eventually, these bacteria make it to the root pocket, where they cause the infection that weakens roots and causes tooth loss.
Root planing and scaling are special deep-cleaning methods that are used to reach the areas of the tooth located below the gum line, including the root and the area surrounding the root called the root pocket. Both techniques are designed to remove bacteria to prevent infection. Root planing also helps smooth the root surface to make it more difficult for bacteria to cling to the roots. Antibiotic gels may also be applied during root scaling and planing to destroy bacteria that cannot be reached.
Root planing and scaling are performed using local anesthetics to numb the gums and reduce or eliminate discomfort. In some cases, sedation can also be used to help patients relax. Once treatment is over, the gums may be a little sore, but soreness will quickly resolve and can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers and ice packs.
Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss among adults in the U.S. Patients can prevent gum disease by making sure to brush and floss regularly using the right techniques to remove as many bacteria and plaque as possible. It is also important to see the dentist twice each year for routine cleanings to help remove plaque and hardened tartar where bacteria can hide. The hygienist can also make sure the patient’s brushing and flossing techniques are as effective as possible. Cutting back on sticky, sugary snacks is also important since these are also a preferred food source for harmful bacteria.
This is a short-list of just some of the plans we accept. We accept most Dental PPO. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.