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When it comes to oral health, maintaining healthy gums is just as important as keeping your teeth in tip-top shape. One highly effective solution for treating poor gum health is scaling and root planing (SRP). This deep-cleaning procedure tackles the root causes of gum disease, providing benefits that extend even beyond your mouth.

Unraveling Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, starts with dental plaque—a sticky, bacteria-laden film that forms on your teeth surfaces. When you don’t remove this film by brushing and flossing daily, detrimental plaque hardens into tartar, which only a dental professional can remove effectively. Tartar irritates gum tissue, leading to inflammation (gingivitis). Left untreated, gingivitis eventually progresses to periodontitis, a more severe condition that can result in tooth loss and other health complications.

Scaling and Root Planing: What Exactly Is It?

Scaling and root planing is a two-part, non-surgical procedure designed to treat periodontal disease at its core.

-Scaling: This step is when our periodontist removes all plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces along with the space beneath the gum line. This is accomplished using specialized tools to thoroughly clean these affected areas.

-Root Planing: In this step, the tooth roots are smoothed to eliminate rough spots where bacteria can accumulate. This helps the gums reattach to the teeth and reduces the size of periodontal pockets, where harmful bacteria thrive.

What Are the Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing?

1. Preventing Tooth Loss

Periodontitis can destroy the supporting bone structure around your teeth, leading to tooth loss. SRP removes the infection and promotes gum reattachment, helping to prevent tooth loss and the need for more extensive dental work like implants or dentures.

2. Reducing Gum Inflammation and Bleeding

Gum inflammation and bleeding are common signs of periodontal disease. SRP effectively reduces these symptoms by eliminating the bacteria-causing irritation. Patients often see a significant improvement in their gums shortly after treatment.

3. Improving Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, is often caused by bacteria in the mouth. By removing plaque and tartar, SRP can improve oral hygiene and freshen your breath.

4. Boosting Overall Health

Your gum health significantly impacts your overall health. Studies have linked periodontal disease and systemic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems. The good news is that SRP can reduce the risk of incurring these associated health issues.

The Procedure and Aftercare

Scaling and root planing are usually performed under local anesthesia ensuring patient comfort. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, the procedure may be completed in one visit or spread over several appointments. Following this procedure, you might find yourself experiencing some sensitivity and discomfort. These symptoms can be effectively managed with over-the-counter pain medication and a diet of soft foods. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing and using an antiseptic mouthwash, is crucial to preserving the desired results. Follow-up visits with your periodontist are essential to monitor progress and prevent recurrence.

Periodontal Treatment

Scaling and root planing is a crucial procedure for managing periodontal disease and safeguarding your oral and overall health. By removing harmful bacteria and promoting gum healing, SRP can prevent tooth loss, reduce inflammation, improve breath and lower the risk of systemic health issues. If you suspect gum disease, we welcome you to consult with our periodontist to discuss the benefits of scaling and root planing. Taking proactive steps now can save your gums—and your health—in the long run.