You know the drill. Brush your teeth twice a day and don’t forget to floss at least once daily. But even if you follow this regimen the most religiously, this does not mean that you should stop going to the dentist for deep teeth and gum cleaning.
What happens to your teeth and gums over time?
Plaque is the dental debris which develops on the surface of your teeth during periods in between tooth brushings. Not only is plaque filled with bacteria and their acid metabolites, but they also accumulate along the gum line and solidify into a crystalline material which irritates the gums and cause gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to gum recession and can further complicate into periodontal disease if not treated promptly. On the other hand, the acid metabolites found on the plaque matrix could weaken the enamel layer of your teeth and lead to the formations of cavities. It’s the plaque and the tartar which your dentist aims to get rid of with this scaling and root planing procedure.
Who qualifies for the scaling and root planing procedure?
During the start of the procedure, your dentist will evaluate the extent of your plaque and tartar build-up. At the same time, your dentist will also check the health of your gums, and whether or not you have an existing gum disease. A sulcus, a shallow groove that forms along the junction of your gums and your teeth, is natural but for you to have healthy gums, the depth of this sulcus should be 3 mm or less. More than 3 mm, and you have a condition known as gum recession and you qualify for the scaling and root planing procedure.
How is the procedure done?
Your dentist may decide to numb up your gums in order to make the procedure less uncomfortable for you. Once your gums are sufficiently anesthetized your dentist will make use of a small scaler in order to get rid of the plaque and the tartar which are lodged within the pockets, or the deep sulci which have developed. If the build-up is excessive, your dentist may choose to do the procedure in quadrants or sections.
Once the surfaces have been scaled of all tartar and plaque, your dentist will then proceed to plane or smoothen the exposed dental roots to make it harder for the dental debris from adhering onto them and causing more accumulations in the future. It’s possible that your dentist might apply topical antibiotics or prescribe you with oral antibiotics in order to prevent infection while your gums are still healing.
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