If your gums have become infected, it could eventually lead to tooth loss if it’s left untreated. Fortunately, in the early stages the solution might be as simple as having professional cleanings more often. However, more advanced forms of gum disease will also require more advanced forms of treatment. At Jacksonville Dental Specialists, we can use scaling and root planing to provide a deep cleaning that can treat gum disease and protect against a reinfection.
Gum disease occurs due a buildup of the bacteria in plaque. The earliest stage, gingivitis, may lead to inflammation and bleeding in the gums. At this point, no irreversible damage has been done; good oral hygiene can often reverse the effects, although you might need additional dental appointments.
However, if gingivitis isn’t treated quickly enough, it can become periodontitis, where the inner layer of gum and bone starts to pull away from the teeth, resulting in pockets that can easily become infected. The longer the condition lasts, the more tissue is destroyed. Eventually, the teeth won’t be anchored in place and can become lost; missing teeth can cause additional health issues.
We can use scaling and root planing as a treatment if signs of advanced gum disease are found. Scaling is the first step; its purpose is to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line to stop the spread of the disease. This is traditionally accomplished through the use of special metal tools or scalpels, but soft tissue laser treatment is also available.
Once scaling is complete, planing is performed to smooth out the roots. This gets rid of any remaining bacteria and also makes it harder for plaque and tartar to build up in that area in the future. Thus, not only does the procedure help treat the current infection, but it can make another one less likely. To that end, we may give you some additional antibiotics to be taken as directed after the procedure for further protection.
While scaling and root planing with metal tools can be very effective, it can also be very uncomfortable; fortunately, anesthetic can be used. However, this form of treatment can also result in blood loss, and patients with a weakened immune system may have a harder time avoiding another infection afterwards.
That’s why at Jacksonville Dental Specialists, we can use a soft tissue laser during scaling and root planing. Not only is there less discomfort, but the laser helps cauterize the wound, meaning there’s much less bleeding and reinfection is much less likely. This form of treatment is also faster than traditional methods, and stitches aren’t usually required afterwards.
Noticing the signs of gum disease or other worrisome symptoms? Contact our office to set up an appointment today!