Periodontal Therapy for Vienna
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical periodontal treatment widely known as deep cleaning. Dentists use this procedure to fix periodontal (gum) disease before it becomes a more serious infection. The National Institutes of Health categorizes gum disease as infection that destroys the tissues supporting teeth, such as the gums, periodontal ligaments, and alveolar bone. This conservative treatment removes plaque and tartar from the surface of teeth, specifically along the gum line and all the way down to the tooth roots. When you suspect gum disease you need to visit Dr. Ellenbogen right away for an evaluation.
What Causes Periodontal Infection?
Plaque is a sticky, bacterial build-up in the mouth that is most likely to stick in tight spaces or rough surfaces. If you maintain a daily dental care regimen you can remove most plaque with regular brushing and flossing. However, the areas below the gum line and along the tooth root are especially tricky to clean. If bacteria find a way in there and are not cleaned away, they irritate your gums. Plaque can also harden into tartar (calculus), a hard deposit that you cannot remove with any amount of brushing or flossing. This too can release toxins, damage the enamel, and cause gums to get infected.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. In the early phase of this infection, some people may notice inflammation, swelling, and easy bleeding, but in many cases, patients do not even realize there is a problem. Healthy gums are pale pink and firm. Unhealthy gums start to look red and swollen. Though this is often a mild infection, it requires prompt attention so the infection does not get worse and lead to more serious periodontitis. Other early symptoms include:
- Mouth sores
- Shiny gums
- Halitosis (bad breath)
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis usually forms when you do not seek treatment for gingivitis. As the infection gets worse, the pockets between your teeth and gums deepen and start to detach. This leads to destruction of both the soft and hard tissues holding your teeth in place, damaging the very foundation of your smile. In addition to what is listed above, some other symptoms include:
- Receding gums (teeth look longer)
- New spaces developing between teeth
- A change in the way teeth fit together
- Pus or sores along the gum line
- A bad taste in your mouth
Who Is at Risk?
Though dentists usually attribute gum disease to poor oral hygiene, there are other factors to consider as well. For example, those with uncontrolled diabetes, some systemic diseases like thyroid disorders, and ill-fitting dental restorations have a greater risk of periodontal infection. Other contributors include genetics, age, alignment of teeth, and hormonal changes. If you present any of these risk factors and start to show signs of infection, you must consult with Dr. Ellenbogen right away. He will likely recommend scaling and root planing to stop the progression of gum disease, eliminate the infection, and create positive conditions to encourage healthy gum reattachment.
What Is Scaling And Root Planing?
For this procedure, the dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar from the surfaces of teeth with a series of tools and techniques (scaling). Then the dentist or hygienist smoothes and polishes the rough surface of the enamel (root planing), so plaque has a harder time sticking to it. Because scaling and root planing can stir up a lot of infection, the dentist might prescribe an antibiotic or special type of mouthwash for you to use after your treatment.
How Long Does it Take?
Sometimes the infection can be reversed with just one deep cleaning and a return to vigilant dental care. However, in cases of deep calculus, it can take up to four deep cleanings to return the gums back to full health, and each treatment can last for about an hour or more depending on the extent of infection. The dentist might recommend additional treatments for decay or malocclusion, to help reduce your risk of future infection.
Is Anesthesia Needed in Scaling and Root Planing?
The process of scaling and root planing can cause some discomfort and bleeding depending on the root surface damage and the depth of the pocket. If you are nervous about the procedure, you can talk with Dr. Ellenbogen about some sedation techniques. Otherwise, he will use topical or injected anesthesia on a case-by-case basis. If the pockets are not too deep, general anesthesia is not needed.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
Scaling and root planing are an effective way to stop gum disease. But after treatment, you must follow the recommended dental care from your dentist. Otherwise, you will be back in the dentist chair in no time. To prevent re-infection you need to brush and floss your teeth properly every day. You should stop tobacco use and excessive drinking and let your dentist know about any systemic diseases you have. This can help keep you ahead of gingivitis and periodontitis, and keep your teeth in place for years to come.
Other Treatments for Periodontal Disease
Like any other dental treatment, traditional scaling and root planing may not be the right solution for every patient. We offer a variety of other periodontal therapy services including:
- More frequent cleanings – in some less advanced cases, more frequent professional teeth cleanings (3 or 4 times a year) can be enough to reverse damage and prevent future concerns.
- Laser Dentistry – we are able to use soft tissue lasers to remove damaged gum tissue and to perform scaling and root planing. Unlike traditional scaling and root planing, laser therapy typically causes less bleeding and discomfort during treatment and requires a much shorter length of time for healing as the affected area typically does not require sutures.
- Antibiotic therapy – in combination with any of the other periodontal therapy options we offer, antibiotic therapy is a great way to reduce the number of bacteria present in order to prevent buildup of plaque and tartar that may irritate the gums leading to inflammation or infection.
For additional information or to schedule an exam, call our office today at (703) 734-1095. Dr. Ellenbogen will help you determine if scaling and root planing is the right treatment for you.