Scaling and Root Planing: Gums and Roots

Scaling And Root Planing Columbia, SC

The process of scaling and root planing refers to the removal of plaque from teeth and their roots to prevent decay. Plaque naturally forms throughout the day between brushing and flossing, and it can negatively affect and destroy teeth and gums. Ensuring that plaque is removed can increase oral health and prevent gum disease in the future.

How plaque affects teeth and gums

Plaque can start building on teeth anywhere between four and 12 hours after brushing, which means that skipping oral hygienic practices for just one day can start to wear away teeth. Bacteria housed within plaque release acids that erode and damage the enamel in teeth and the tissue in gums. Given time to prosper, those acids can do serious long-term harm to the structural integrity of teeth.

Cavities and decay

Bacteria sitting on the surface of a tooth slowly eat away at the tooth’s natural protective coating of enamel. After boring a hole in the enamel, the bacteria’s acid works into deeper, more sensitive layers of the tooth. This is how decay, known as a cavity, is formed. Cavities must be filled in or capped off to prevent further damage to the tooth or the tooth nerve.

Gum disease

In addition to damaging teeth, the bacteria can also infect the surrounding gums. Signs of infection include tenderness, sensitivity, bleeding, red coloration and inflammation. As the infection advances, gums recede from the teeth to create unusually large pockets where plaque and tartar can build, creating even more acid to deteriorate the gums further in a vicious cycle of decay. If the infection worsens, the jaw bone could be infected and teeth may come loose.

Preventative steps

If a dentist notices tooth decay or indicators of gum disease, it is likely a sign that plaque is hiding below the gums. Fortunately, preventative measures can be taken to reverse these ill effects and restore gum health.

Dental deep cleanings

Scaling and root planing are parts of a deep cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar hiding in places that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. A dentist may use electric and hand instruments to scrape the plaque off the tooth’s surface. Plaque may need to be removed from the root of the tooth, where those deep pockets have formed. Next, planing is used to buff the surface of the root to safeguard against future bacterial growth. This smooth surface also makes it easier for the gums to reattach to the root.

Home care

After a deep cleaning, the dentist may prescribe some at-home care to keep the infection down and stimulate healing. Rinsing with warm salt water or another mouthwash suggested by the dentist can help prevent infection. Patients should continue brushing and flossing daily but can use less pressure on tender areas.

Conclusion

While daily oral hygiene can seem like a nuisance, it far outweighs the risk of getting gum disease. Seek dental help for scaling and root planing if signs of gum disease appear.  

Request an appointment here: https://davisanddingle.com or call Davis & Dingle Family Dentistry at (803) 567-1804 for an appointment in our Columbia office.

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