Scaling refers to the professional removal of soft plaque and hard calculus (tartar) deposits from the teeth and around the gum line. It is undertaken using hand instruments (scalers or curettes) and/or sonic/ultrasonic instruments which use high frequency vibrations to help remove these deposits from the tooth surface.
Root planing is really an extension of scaling which involves getting down further under the gum line to remove plaque and calculus from the tooth root surface. This is usually undertaken while the gum tissues are numb with dental anesthetic so that the treatment can be performed painlessly. Scaling and root planing aim to provide a clean smooth tooth and root surface in order that the gum tissue/ attachment has a chance to heal around the tooth. Both scaling and root planing are non-surgical treatments. Scaling and root planing may sometimes be combined with antibiotic treatment to assist in the management of the gum infection.
In certain circumstances, scaling and root planing alone may not be sufficient to deal with the periodontal disease, especially in patients who present with more severe periodontitis. Such patients will normally require further treatment in the form of periodontal surgery. Modern surgical treatments are generally minimally invasive and generally well tolerated by patients. There are a variety of surgical techniques used in the management of severe periodontitis each having their specific indications. Only a qualified periodontist has the specialist surgical skills to recommend and provide the periodontal surgery required for your specific circumstances.
Being able to clean your teeth properly is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Being able to removal plaque from certain areas in you mouth can be challenging. Professional advice and the right tools for the job can go a long way to ensuring that the time you do spend cleaning your teeth and gums is time well spent. Here are some preliminary suggestions to get you started.
Brushing removes the sticky film of bacteria from the teeth and from around the gum line. A soft-bristled toothbrush that is in good condition is recommended. Electric toothbrushes can also be of tremendous benefit for many patients providing they are used appropriately. The use of toothpastes containing fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth and prevent decay. Certain toothpastes can also help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Dental floss or interdental brushes can be used to remove bacteria and food particles from between the teeth where a toothbrush can't reach. The early signs of gum disease (gingivitis) may be reversed by careful daily brushing and flossing. The use of interdental brushes requires instruction by a trained professional to prevent injury to the gum tissues and to ensure effective plaque removal.
Visiting your dentist or hygienist and having professional cleaning is important in the prevention of both tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
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