As you may know, periodontal disease or sometimes better known as perio disease or gum disease is one of the most serious and often troublesome oral health concerns that a patient may face in their lifetime primarily for two reasons:

  1. What gum disease truly is, is a progressive infection that starts within the gums (hence the name) and spreads throughout the mouth potentially damaging or even destroying your teeth, and/or jawbone. While this in and of itself is a major issue, often the primary concern is the interactive nature of periodontal disease. As it is known to interact with or exacerbate other health conditions, and can even trigger additional illnesses. This may include conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, or a progressive worsening in someone’s diabetes.
  2. A second and perhaps lesser known cause of concern is the deceptive nature of periodontal disease, something that has earned the disease both a bad reputation and a peculiar nickname. Unfortunately for many who have suffered from perio disease in the past, the disease was not treated until irreversible damage had already been done. This is due to the disease not being detected by the patient in its initial stage (known as gingivitis); as early symptoms of gum disease may seem relatively minor. These symptoms may include; bleeding or swollen gums, redness, chronic bad breath, and teeth that feel loose or seem more pronounced. Because these early symptoms are frequently dismissed, the infection will continue to progress unbeknownst to the patient, unless recognized by your dentist, or until symptoms worsen. It is in this sense that gum disease can gradually creep up on a person without notice. This leads gum disease to be unceremoniously referred to as “the creeper” in some circles, as it is usually not detected until reaching its second or third stages.

Perio Scaling and Root Planing: The Dream Team!

If perio disease has managed to creep up on you, Dr. Roberts at Adams Dental Group will certainly want to address this issue right away. Fortunately there is an effective non-surgical treatment used to address advancing gum disease, as Dr. Robert’s expert team will more than likely explain when using terms such as “perio scaling” and “root planing.”

If this is the case, you are probably scratching your head and wondering what exactly this might be, and how it could possibly help with a progressive infection like gum disease.

If you can remember the last time you had your teeth cleaned, then you may be able to imagine a perio scaling / root planing combo as a similar but much more advanced procedure that’s designed to reach where no toothbrush can, and cut off periodontal disease at its source!

When perio disease spreads, the inflammation begins to work its way down the foundation of the tooth, thus forming a trench or what is referred to as a “periodontal pocket” in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. If not properly assessed in time, the pocket will continue to deepen around the tooth and spread under the gum tissue. This provides the ideal area for plaque and calculus (tartar) to continue to build and bacteria to continue to progress. Therefore, the purpose of perio scaling and root planing is to halt the advancing bacteria, by removing the excess buildup of calculus and dental plaque, which in turn would eliminate the bacteria contained within.

This is achieved via a two part process, in which Dr. Roberts will first apply an ultrasonic scaler to remove calculus from the surface of your teeth, and beneath the gum line. Once the calculus is removed, he will plane or smooth the root surfaces of your teeth, thus allowing the gum tissue to properly heal and thereby re-attach to your teeth.

While certainly there are always outside variables to consider, generally the process ranges from about 25 to 60 minutes and will certainly require a few follow up appointments to be made.

If your treatment is done in quadrants or sections, as Dr. Roberts and other experts recommend it to be, four appointments may be necessary to complete the process entirely, each within a 1-2 week time period. Additionally, Dr. Roberts may suggest a 3-month checkup once the treatment is complete, to ensure that the condition is improving and prevent any chance of relapse.

Perio Scaling: Between Appointments and Afterward Expectations

Once the procedure has been completed, or when waiting between appointments, you may experience relative discomfort. However this is no cause for alarm as this is commonly experienced by patients after perio scaling, as are the following symptoms:

Pronounced sensitivity:

After the perio scaling and root planing procedure, your gum tissue may shrink slightly, thereby exposing the root surface. While it is completely normal, it can cause sensitivity to certain foods or beverages that are either hot, cold, hard or particularly sweet. This can be alleviated by using anti-sensitivity toothpastes such as Sensodyne.

Bleeding or Swelling:

Swelling is perhaps one of the commonly experienced after effects of scaling and planing, as is slight bleeding that may occur when chewing or brushing. Though somewhat bothersome, temporary swelling and bleeding is no reason for concern and should subside with a week.

Minor Pain:

Although Dr. Roberts will likely use a local anesthetic during the procedure, minor pain is to be expected and can be alleviated using standard over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen or Advil.     

Temporary Dietary Adjustments:  

As mentioned earlier, due to slight exposure of the roots of your teeth, you may experience sensitivity and difficulty when ingesting particular foods or beverages. To reduce or prevent this, it may be a good idea to temporarily avoid certain food types such as anything spicy or hot, or foods with seeds, nuts, or popcorn. Also as an added side note, if you are a smoker you should refrain from smoking for at least six hours after the procedure, and try to smoke as little as possible to prevent irritation.

Perio Scaling: Don’t fear the creeper!

As stated previously, perio disease can creep up on you when leased expected, and stir up a hornet’s nest of health problems if left unchecked. Therefore if you suspect that you may be developing perio or gum disease, or have been diagnosed with it already, you should seek treatment right away! While there is no way to reverse the damage already caused by gum disease, by receiving perio scaling and root planing treatment, you will be taking an imperative step in preventing any further damage.

So don’t let perio disease creep you out! Come see us at Adams Dental Group so we can help you stop periodontal disease dead in its tracks!

Travis A. Roberts and his experienced, friendly team at Adams Dental Group offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the Kansas City, KS area. We have two locations that are conveniently located and offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Adams Dental Group, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including perio planing, dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at our East location (913) 621-3113 or at our West location (913) 296-8030 to schedule an appointment.

September 12th, 2017

Posted In: Periodontal | Gum Disease