Periodontal disease is a dental infection that can sometimes become severe enough to require surgical treatment. However, if the infection is diagnosed early enough, surgery can be avoided and a treatment known as dental scaling will be recommended instead.
If your Smithfield NC dentist determines that the degree of your periodontal infection is mild or moderate, rather than severe, dental scaling can be an effective means of treating the disease and preventing it from becoming worse. For severe periodontal diseases, dental scaling is often prescribed in conjunction with gum surgery.
Dental scaling is sometimes referred to as a “deep cleaning” because the treatment is designed to remove plaque and tarter that have accumulated below the gumline and between the teeth. Sometimes these hardened deposits can cause the root surfaces of the teeth to be rough and irregular. Once they have been removed, the roots of the teeth must be smoothed (a procedure called root planing). This can be accomplished with the use of specially-designed instruments and medications. According to the extent of your gum disease, your dentist or hygienist may perform your treatment with two common methods:
- Plaque and tarter can be manually removed from the roots of the teeth with hand-held instruments called scalers and curettes.
- Ultrasonic instruments rely on vibrations and a gentle water flow to break up tarter and disrupt the film of bacterial plaque. The flow of water also serves to flush small particles and bacterial toxins from the pockets beneath the gumline.
It is common to perform dental scaling in one or two quadrants at each visit, and the procedure can generally be completed in two separate dental appointments if necessary. For your comfort, your dentist or hygienist can numb your gums and teeth with local dental anesthetics. Additionally, the special dental scaling instruments feature thin, streamlined designs that can fit comfortably beneath the gumline without causing discomfort or damaging your gum tissue.
To find out more about this non-surgical approach to gum disease, contact your dental office in Smithfield NC for an appointment today.