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Deep Cleanings (Scaling and Root Planing)

After your oral evaluation or check-up, Dr. Visanescu may recommend a procedure called “scaling and root planing” in one or more quadrants, or quarters of your mouth, to address an issue with gum disease they have observed. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is relatively common in adults. According to the CDC, more than 64 million adults in the U.S. are living with, or have had gum disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that has collected under the gum line, causing irritation and inflammation. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can cause bone loss and even tooth loss. However, gum disease is treatable, curable and preventable.

Diagnosing Gum Disease

Gum disease is diagnosed when probing reveals one or more periodontal pockets, or areas where the gum has pulled away from the tooth, 4 millimeters deep or greater. In some cases, only one quadrant, or quarter of the mouth, may be affected. In other cases, the affected areas may span throughout the entire mouth.

Gum disease can be caused by a lack of consistent and proper brushing and flossing, long periods of time between regular professional dental cleanings, and other known conditions such as diabetes. Women who are pregnant may also experience temporary bouts of inflammation and gum disease which should be monitored by a dentist.

In most cases, gum disease can be treated at Dr. Visanescu’s office using a treatment called scaling and root planing, which is also known as a deep cleaning. However, a referral to a periodontal specialist may be required to treat more advanced cases.

Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

Scaling and Root Planing, also known as a deep cleaning, is different from a regular cleaning. A regular cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth and between teeth above the gum line. During a regular cleaning, the teeth are also polished. A deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing, is needed in order to remove bacteria, calculus (tartar), and debris that has collected under the gum line.

The presence of calculus under the gum line creates a safe haven for bacteria to collect, and cannot be removed by brushing, flossing or with a regular cleaning. The presence of this bacteria causes an immune response from the body. This immune response results in inflammation, to fight the bacterial infection.  If left untreated, the infection and inflammation will continue and progress further under the gum line, resulting in loose teeth and bone loss, and ultimately, the loss of one or more teeth.

During a deep cleaning, Dr. Visanescu or the hygienist will typically numb area to be treated. Next, she will carefully work under the gum line to clean away the calculus and debris. After this, she will carefully shape, or plane, the root of the tooth, to remove places where bacteria can collect in the future. Scaling and root planing requires post-treatment care, as well as follow up visits to ensure the treatment and home care techniques are successful.

Recovery and Follow-Up

Recovery from a scaling and root planing is typically simple. Dr. Visanescu will usually prescribe an antibiotic regimen for you to follow, and may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever if you are experiencing any discomfort. or tenderness in the treatment area. Dr. Visanescu will provide you with after care instructions, and confirm with you when you should be able to resume a regular oral hygiene routine, including regular brushing and flossing. Dr. Visanescu may recommend you return for a checkup visit to make sure everything is healing well.

Gum disease can be treated and often cured, but may require regular ‘maintenance’ visits, usually every 3 months in the beginning, to monitor the status of your teeth, gums and bone to make sure your gums have healed and the bacteria has not returned. Some individuals who may be predisposed to having gum disease may need to return for regular periodontal maintenance cleanings, and others may be able to return to a regular hygiene routine and 6-month dental checkup visits.

Dr. Janet Visanescu, DMD
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
120 E Adams St Ste 1
La Grange, KY 40031
(502) 222-7874
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