Why Scaling And Root Planing Can Help Your Periodontitis And How You Can Contribute To Your Own Healing

1 October 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

If you have periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, then you can probably appreciate the frustration that comes with treating this stubborn condition. That's why it's important for you to have every advantage possible when fighting periodontitis by availing yourself of the best treatment options. One effective means of treating periodontitis is known as scaling and root planing. This procedure can greatly reduce the intensity and negative effects of periodontitis. Below is more information on scaling and root planing and how you can ensure it provides maximum healing benefits for your mouth and body:

What is scaling and root planing?

Scaling and root planing actually refers to two distinct, but closely related, dental techniques that are usually used in conjunction with one another during a treatment session. Both procedures entail the use of specialized sharp instruments that mechanically alter the surfaces of the teeth and roots.

Scaling is essentially a "scrubbing" technique whereby the dentist pulls the scaler up the side of the tooth from roots to crown. The scaling process scrapes away calcium deposits that once served as ligament attachment points for healthy teeth and gums; unfortunately as periodontitis progresses, the gum line recedes and the ligaments are lost, leaving the hard deposits behind. These irregular, pock-marked deposits are a prime habitat for harmful bacteria, and scaling eliminates them so the bacteria no longer have a place to flourish.

Root planing is a process of removing the rough surfaces of exposed teeth roots. This exposure of the roots is due to receding gums, and the grooved surfaces of the roots form ideal locations for more bacterial development. The deep penetration of bacteria ultimately destroys underlying bone structure and leads to an ever-shrinking jawbone.

The dentist uses special planing tools, and the end result is akin to that achieved when a carpenter planes a rough board. The root planing process is also all about smoothing, since bacterial colonies have difficulty growing on smooth tooth surfaces.

What can be done to enhance the effectiveness of scaling and root planing?

You may not believe your efforts are important when it comes to scaling and planing, but your input into the process makes a big difference. There are several things you should do when considering having your teeth scaled and planed as well as after the procedure is performed:

  • Choose an expert - It is important to seek a periodontal specialist for scaling and root planing. The instruments involved are specialized and must be extremely sharp and well-maintained to be fully effective. In addition, the procedure itself will not be as successful if the dentist does not have a high degree of familiarity. Only a periodontal specialist is likely to have the the skills and equipment you should expect from a professional.

  • Take care of own your teeth and gums - No matter how good your dentist is at performing scaling and root planing, if you don't stay involved in your own care, you will ultimately lose your teeth and even bone in your jaw. That's why you should be rigorous in your daily care regimen; individuals who suffer from periodontitis must go the extra mile to maintain their oral health. In addition to a normal brushing and flossing routine, use a dentist-recommended mouthwash as instructed for the purpose of killing bacteria. In addition, be sure not to skip regular cleaning appointments with your hygienist. Their efforts are valuable in keeping your teeth healthy and periodontitis at bay.

  • Keep your dentist informed - The scaling and planing process causes the release of a massive number of bacteria from the teeth and gums. Your body's circulatory system readily picks up the bacteria and carries them throughout the body. While a healthy immune system can fight-off the potential infection, the bacterial influx can be serious in some cases. For example, patients with some heart conditions or with immune deficiencies can become seriously ill if their body is unable to ward off the bacteria. By informing your dentist in advance, they can use a variety of preventative means to keep you healthy. For example, the use of prescribed antibiotics can help keep some patients from developing infections should the microbe invasion into their bloodstreams be substantial. Other options include the use of special antibiotic mouthwashes that are administered just before treatment.