Gum Disease & Scaling and Root Planing
Here at Kooning Family Dentistry in Lake Oswego, we understand how important your oral health is to you. It’s important to us too! One of the reasons that we advise all of our patients to come in twice a year is so that we can get a good look at their mouth and catch any issues. If there are any issues that may threaten the health of their mouth, we can catch them while those issues are still in the beginning stages. Many people don’t realize how important a role the gums play in the overall health of their mouth. One issue that comes up a lot is periodontal (gum) disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Everyone knows that the bacteria in our mouth can gang up on our teeth and cause infections that we call cavities. What many people don’t realize is those same bacteria that attack your teeth can attack your gums and cause an infection known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease describes a condition where your gums are infected by bacteria that build up on the surface of the roots of your teeth. People are affected by periodontal disease when their oral hygiene is allowed to slip. Most people who develop the beginning stages of periodontal disease, known as gum disease, don’t even know it because the signs are hard to identify.
What is Scaling and Root Planing?
If periodontal disease is not caught in the early stages and is allowed to progress into a serious issue, we have no way of curing the disease. That does not mean that we cannot manage the disease, and prevent it from spreading. If periodontal disease is allowed to take its course, it can lead to severe tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw. The way that we manage periodontal disease is with a procedure called scaling and root planing. These are two separate procedures that are typically performed together because they go together well. Scaling and root planing targets the plaque and tartar that builds up below your gum line and removes it so that your gums are less inflamed and affected by the disease.
The Scaling and Root Planing Procedure
We will usually apply a local anesthetic to the areas that we work on before starting the scaling and root planing procedure. It will likely require several visits to our office to complete this procedure that we will perform in stages. Scaling is the first step in this procedure, where we use a manual pick and an ultrasonic scaler to break up and wash away the built-up plaque and tartar from below the gum line. Once we have removed the plaque and tartar with the scaling procedure, it will be time to smooth out the surface of the roots of your teeth with the planing procedure. We use a special tool to plane the newly clean surfaces of your roots so that the gums won’t be irritated by imperfections on the root surface. We perform this procedure in stages to give your mouth a chance to recover and heal from the scaling and root planing.
Do You Have Gum Disease?
If you have or think you might have gum disease, we can help you manage it. Give us a call at (503) 673-9097 to learn more about your options and see if scaling and root planing is right for you. We look forward to seeing you soon at our Lake Oswego dental office.