Spring Cleaning…For Your Teeth!
Spring is back in Dallas, and it is beautiful. The weather has been pleasant. The rain is helping bring some life back to our struggling landscape (thank you, winter-pocalypse 2021). And hopefully everyone enjoyed a relaxing spring break last week. We certainly did! As our patients know, Dr. Orth’s periodontal & dental implant office in Dallas was closed for spring break so that our staff could enjoy some much-needed time off.
But now we are back and ready to help our patients and community with “spring cleaning”…for your teeth!
Just like the difference between daily “picking up” and the regular deep cleanings for your house, your mouth needs much the same care. Your daily routine should, of course, include brushing, flossing and mouthwash, and then regular cleanings by a dental professional. However, sometimes your mouth needs a good deep cleaning when a routine dental cleaning simply won’t do. Those “deep cleanings” are your periodontal cleanings, otherwise known as periodontal “scaling & root planing”. While it’s probably typical to assume that periodontal cleanings and dental cleanings are the same, the difference between the two is important to understand, especially as it relates to prevention and treatment of periodontitis.
So what does scaling and root planing include? Why is scaling and root planing necessary? How are dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings different?
Let’s start with that last question first, shall we? How are dental and periodontal cleanings different?
The essential difference between dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings has to do with the depth of the cleaning. Regular cleanings are intended to remove the buildup of bacteria and tartar that accumulates in between the teeth and gums. Regardless of how excellent your daily dental hygiene routines might be, this build-up naturally occurs and needs to be removed by a dental professional. With proper cleanings, brushing, and flossing, bacteria is kept to a minimum to keep the gums healthy. Sometimes, however, a larger amount of bacteria and tartar build up occurs and then fills “pockets” in your gums. Scaling and root planing is then necessary because this process gets down deep to the gum and root level.
What does scaling and root planing include?
While the actual process can be quite extensive and delicate, scaling is the removal of the plaque and tartar from the tooth’s surface and also the gum pockets, while root planing is the removal of these from the surface of the root. For more technical information about the process Dr. Orth uses in his periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, check out our page on Scaling & Root Planing, complete with helpful animations.
Why is scaling and root planing necessary?
Scaling and root planing is necessary because, if left untreated, the build up of plaque and tartar and the presence of bacteria in these gum pockets and at the root can lead to other health complications and eventually tooth loss.
So what are the benefits of scaling and root planing?
If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.
So if you’re thinking about some deep cleaning this spring, remember that your mouth needs that same kind of care and love. Call Dr. Orth’s office today to schedule your next cleaning and give yourself the gift of a lifetime of oral health.
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