Dental cleanings are one of the procedures carried out by dental professionals during a routine checkup. They are done to remove plaque and tartar build-up and to check for dental caries. Periodontal cleanings, which are done at Peninsula Family Dental Center, are deeper and more intense than regular dental cleanings. They are carried out regularly on anyone who has had a scaling and root planning procedure or any form of periodontal surgery. With a history of periodontal disease, there is usually a consequent formation of pockets where plaque and tartar collect. Periodontal maintenance procedures are done more frequently than regular dental cleanings with less than six months between two appointments.
Scaling and Root Planing
This is a procedure used to clean plaque and tartar build-up in the pockets between the teeth and the gums as well as smooth the surfaces of the root of the implicated teeth. Scaling is done to remove cementum or dentin laden with plaque, calculus, or bacteria. With uncontrolled bacterial activity, there can be inflammation which could lead to the separation of the gum from the teeth and the formation of deeper pockets. Hand instruments, which consist of periodontal scalers and periodontal curettes, and ultrasonic scalers are the tools used for this procedure. Periodontal scalers and periodontal curettes are similar in appearance. However, periodontal scalers have sharp ends while periodontal curettes have blunt ends. The periodontal scalers are for supra-gingival use while the periodontal curettes are for both supra-gingival and sub-gingival use.
The ultrasonic scaler is an electronic device that can be used for both scaling and root planing. The ultrasonic scaler creates oxygen-containing cavitation's that inhibit the survival of the anaerobic bacteria in the periodontal pockets. The oxygen destroys the cell membrane of these bacteria. The ultrasonic scaler possesses a lavage that can be used to rinse the periodontal pocket. Hand scalers can be used to fine scale what is left behind by the ultrasonic scaler.
Our dental professional will apply a local anesthetic to numb the area of the mouth to be cleaned. The whole mouth is not usually cleaned at once because that would mean numbing the entire mouth. The complications of numbing the entire mouth include hurting oneself while biting or chewing and difficulty eating or drinking. The teeth are first scaled using a hand instrument or ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar build-up. After scaling is done, then the roots of the teeth that have undergone scaling are smoothed using a periodontal instrument or the ultrasonic scaler. Our dental professional would thereafter rinse the periodontal pockets to dispel scraped plaque or tartar using the lavage of the ultrasonic scaler. Antibacterial agents or drugs may be administered to the cleaned pockets to inhibit the activity of the bacteria and help treat any ongoing inflammation.
Periodontal maintenance helps improve the health of the teeth, gums, and bone. It prevents subsequent inflammation from unchecked bacterial activity that results from plaque and tartar build-up. Ongoing inflammation will be treated. Keeping the gums clean also helps prevent systemic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. For your scaling and root planing with follow-up periodontal maintenance, please contact Peninsula Family Dental Center by calling (907) 283-9125.