Periodontal Scaling, or Gum Cleanings

Periodontal, or “gum” cleanings are used to treat gum disease. Gum disease is caused by heavy plaque and tartar buildup. Over time, plaque causes gums to become inflamed and bleed easily, which is a condition called gingivitis. Untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, causing gums to pull away from teeth. Painful pockets of the disease can destroy bones, gums, and mouth tissue. Bad breath caused by periodontal disease does not typically go away even with brushing and mouthwash.

This is a serious and very painful condition that our dentists can treat with scaling or root planing.

The three stages of periodontal disease are as follows:

Gingivitis: This early stage of gum disease causes mild inflammation, some soreness, and bleeding of your gums after brushing or flossing. 

Periodontitis: The second stage of gum disease affects the ligaments and tissues that anchor your teeth to your jaw bone. Pockets begin forming between the teeth and the gums, which makes it hard to remove oral bacteria even with brushing and antiseptic mouthwash.

Advanced Periodontitis: This is the third stage in which the ligaments that anchor your teeth into the jaw bone have been completely destroyed by infectious bacteria.

At this point scaling and root planing is necessary. These deep-cleaning procedures address the part of the tooth that is hidden beneath the gums. Antibiotics are generally prescribed to further help fight the bacterial infection and prevent it from spreading after your scaling and root planing procedure. If large pockets have formed between your teeth and gums, we may need to perform what is called “pocket reduction surgery” during your deep cleaning procedure. This is when the damaged gum tissue is removed then healthy gum tissue is held in place with stitches.  Pocket reduction helps keep gum disease from returning since it stops bacteria and food particles from getting trapped in the periodontal pockets.

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