Bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the gums and the surrounding tissues is known as periodontal disease. It first starts when the gums begin to bleed when flossing. If neglected the gums begin withdrawing from the teeth thus creating pockets in between the teeth and gums. Bacteria will collect in these periodontal pockets causing further destruction at the expense of general health.
When would you require periodontal care?
If you notice the following changes in your mouth:
- Frequent bleeding of gums when you brush or floss
- Swollen, red and tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Appearance of elongated teeth
What will be your next step?
- Make an appointment with your dentist at the dental gallery
- The dentist will diagnose your problem after a thorough examination of your teeth and gums
- A treatment plan will be created to help your gums to heal
- If necessary, a plan will be set in motion for the long term management of your chronic periodontal disease.
What are the treatment options for periodontal disease?
Treatment for periodontal disease can be non-surgical or surgical. This will depend upon how serious the condition is.
Scaling and Polishing is a non-surgical treatment. This is generally used as a preventative dental care treatment carried out by our Oral Health Therapist, Lydia Wang, at The Dental Gallery Point Cook. This treatment is used in the case of a very mild periodontal disease called gingivitis.
Patients, who visit their local Point Cook dentist every six months or so are able to have their teeth attended to by our Oral Health Therapist. Specialized equipment like the ultrasonic instrument is used to remove calculus. With the help of hand scalers, the loosened calculus is scraped away. Then the teeth are polished and the stains removed. This is what is called scaling and polishing.
Scaling and Planing is done when bacteria is built up in the deeper periodontal pockets. This treatment in very similar to scaling and polishing but is more intense. Your hygienist will use an ultrasonic dental cleaner to break up the calculus before scraping off the loosened debris with a hand scalar. This procedure requires the scraping away of calculus from tooth root surfaces that have become exposed due to the development of periodontal pockets.
Due to the fact that scaling alone can roughen tooth surfaces, it is necessary to plane these surfaces thus smoothing it and rendering it easier for the maintenance of gum health. This procedure enables gums to heal and reduces the size of the periodontal pockets making it possible for teeth to fit more snugly.
A few points to consider:
- Local anesthetic can be given to make the process more comfortable.
- Most people come in for treatment and then return to their normal daily activities.
- Scaling and planing can be carried out as a stand-alone treatment but sometimes it may be a part of an ongoing plan to treat periodontal disease.
- If this does not stem the progress of the disease, other surgical forms of periodontal care might be required as well as referral to a specialist periodontist.
How would you look after your teeth after scaling and planing?
- Take good care of your teeth as periodontal disease cannot be completely eradicated.
- Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day to help reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent gums from becoming infected and inflamed.
- Have regular dental check-ups and professional cleaning which will help keep your gums healthy
- Seek practical or professional advice when in doubt.