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Pain, inflammation, and swelling of the gums are the most telling signs of gingivitis and periodontitis, and if left untreated these conditions can lead to a receding gum line, loose teeth, mouth sores, and the eventual loss of teeth rooted in the affected areas. Research also suggests that poor gum health leads to additional health complications, and can affect an individual’s overall well-being. Although several treatment options are available, many patients are reluctant to seek out the proper methods for coping with gum disease that has progressed to the point of pain. Misinformation concerning treatment and recovery may be one cause for such reluctance, but there is good news for those who are hesitant to begin looking for relief.
Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) to treat gum disease
Root planing and scaling is a comfortable, non-surgical procedure offered to patients suffering from gum disease, and is often the first option for treatment when a diagnosis is issued. The procedure involves the use of scraping instruments, an ultrasonic tool or both to deep clean and remove dental plaque and calculus that promote bacterial growth along the gum line and at the root level. A local anesthetic is generally offered to minimize any discomfort, and most patients will feel only the pressure of the instruments being used during their visit.
The risks involved with the procedure are minimal, with the possibility for infection being the primary cause for concern. For this reason, patients may have antibiotic fibers or gels inserted during the planing and scaling session, which will usually be removed about one week after the first visit. Laser therapy is also an invaluable treatment against periodontal diasease.
Immediately after the procedure the gums may be more sensitive than usual, and certain precautions will be advised until normal sensitivity levels are regained. For this reason, some patients may have small areas of the gum line treated over several visits to ensure minimal inconvenience and shorter recovery times. Patients may also be advised to take over-the-counter pain relief medication immediately after their visits, and to brush and floss more gently until any discomfort or pain subsides.
Root planing and scaling is highly effective, and most patients can expect to see the return of healthy pink gums after treatments have been completed. The procedure is an excellent option for patients struggling with gum pain, bleeding, and other signs of disease seeking a minimally invasive treatment option.
Periodontal maintenance at 3-4 month intervals after the initial scaling and root planing is extremely important to ensure the disease does not remain active. The periodontal maintenance ensures the periodontal disease is controlled and areas patient's may not be able to access with home brushing and flossing underneath the gumline are disinfected.