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    • 12 JAN 17
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    What is Dental Scaling and Root Planing?

    what-is-dental-scaling-and-root-planingWhether you’re vigilant about going to the dentist every six months or it’s been awhile since your last visit, gum disease is always a possibility. If Dr. Evanson diagnoses you with this condition, she may recommend dental scaling and root planing as effective treatment options when your gums have started to pull away from your teeth. These techniques help manage and even reverse gum disease to restore a healthy smile. Here’s more about scaling and planing so you know what to expect at your next dental visit.

    Overview of Dental Scaling and Root Planing

    Dental scaling involves scraping away tartar, plaque, and biofilm from the tooth surface using a manual hand instrument. Most of the scraping occurs right along the gum line where plaque buildup is causing gum inflammation and tooth decay.

    Root planing takes dental scaling one step further by scraping the tooth surface below the gum line. In addition to removing tartar and plaque, root planing aims to smooth out rough tooth roots to help prevent future filmy buildup.

    How to Decrease the Discomfort of Dental Scaling and Root Planing

    Inflamed gums and exposed roots are probably sensitive, which can make dental scaling and root planing uncomfortable. To help with this, try these tips:

    • Use a desensitizing paste: Before your dentist appointment, apply desensitizing paste to your teeth and gums to help relieve sensitivity. The paste is even effective if you apply it after having dental scaling and root planing performed.
    • Request local anesthesia: If your teeth are still sensitive, you can request a local anesthetic. A small injection numbs your mouth so dental scaling and root planing can take place with no discomfort whatsoever. Keep in mind that the numbness may linger for a few hours after leaving the dentist.
    • Ask for ultrasonic scaling: An ultrasonic scaling device removes plaque buildup with sonic vibrations. Many patients agree that this tool delivers a much more comfortable dental scaling experience than a manual hand instrument.

    How to Speed Up the Gum Healing Process

    You may need to have dental scaling and root planing performed two to four times over the coming months, depending on the severity of your gum disease. If your condition has already progressed to periodontal disease, your dentist may perform scaling and planing prior to periodontal surgery.

    No matter how severe your gum disease is, you can speed up the healing process by taking good care of your teeth and gums between dentist visits. Here’s how:

    • Brush with an electric toothbrush: The ultrasonic vibrations of an electric toothbrush provide far superior cleaning power compared to a manual toothbrush. Brush your teeth morning and night to remove gummy plaque before it worsens your gum disease.
    • Floss: According to the Academy of General Dentistry, flossing is even more important than brushing when it comes to removing plaque. Floss at least once daily to help stimulate your gums and remove plaque from hard-to-reach places.
    • Stop smoking: Smoking is one bad oral health habit that inhibits your body’s ability to fight infections, especially those located in the mouth. This delays healing and could increase the chances of periodontal disease.
    • Use antibiotics: In some cases, Dr. Evanson may insert antibiotic fibers into the pockets between your teeth and gums. The antibiotic helps prevent infections and speeds up the healing process. You’ll need to return to the dentist after about a week to have the fibers removed.

    Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Evanson

    If your gums look red and swollen or they’re starting to pull away from your teeth, don’t delay treatment another day! The faster you act against gum disease, the greater chance you have of making a full recovery.

    To discuss your concerns and schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Evanson online or call us at (720) 409-0008 today.

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