Routine dental cleanings and periodontal maintenance procedures are an essential part of maintaining a healthy oral environment. Keeping up to date with regular dental check ups in combination with proper at home hygiene care increases chances of patients keeping their natural teeth for life.
Plaque & Calculus
Gingivitis causes the gums to be red, irritated, painful, prone to bleeding, and is a precursor for a more serious disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis is the presence of disease within the gums and bone tissue surrounding teeth. When the bone surrounding teeth becomes infected, it recedes and can lead to tooth mobility and tooth loss if not addressed. Both gingivitis and periodontitis are completely preventable diseases with proper brushing and flossing and routine dental visits.
Scaling & Root Planing and Periodontal Maintenance
If patients have been diagnosed with gingivitis or periodontitis, or are prone to heavy calculus build up, the dentist may recommend they have a scaling and root planing procedure. Scaling and root planing, commonly referred to as a deep cleaning, is a process where the hygienist removes hard calculus deposits that have formed along or beneath the gumline. These deposits can often be hidden from the naked eye, but can dramatically increase the progression of gum disease.
During this procedure, the doctor may numb the area being worked on with local anesthetic to allow the hygienist to remove deposits deep beneath the gum tissue without causing discomfort to the patient. Depending on the amount of build up present, these procedures may be done in sections, or quadrants, of the mouth to ensure each area is completely free of calculus. For patients that have been diagnosed with gum disease, or who have had scaling and root planing procedures in the past, the dentist will recommend they have routine periodontal maintenance therapy instead of regular dental cleanings, or prophylaxis.
Regular dental visits, probing exams, dental x-rays, and proper at home hygiene are essential to maintaining a healthy mouth and the doctor's ability to properly diagnose and manage disease.