Scaling and root planing becomes the treatment recommended if the pocket which is the shallow groove surrounding your tooth has increased to 5 plus millimeters rather than the recommended 3 or less millimeters. This can occur as a result of tartar/calculus build-up, poor home care, smoking, medical conditions/medications, length of time since professional dental cleaning and some genetic factors. The resultant bacteria can not be removed by you with a toothbrush and floss. This procedure is generally done in multiple visits and with local anesthetic. Following this process, we will closely monitor your progress at either 3 or 4 month visits with what is called periodontal maintenance. At these follow-up visits, we re-measure your pocketing, clean your teeth and reassure that your home care is up to par and give you tips on how to better care for your teeth. Many of our patients are able to return to six month revisits, however, some pocketing is challenging to resolve even with improved home care and regular visits and we can maintain you on 3 or 4 month visits. Periodontal disease is challenging to resolve and with no treatment will result in the teeth loosening with eventual loss. If we can not stabilize the your teeth, we can refer you to a gum specialist called a periodontist for other options including laser or perhaps a surgical procedure.
Good dental hygiene is essential, not only for your teeth but for your overall health as well. Poor dental hygiene can allow for an increase in bacteria that can cause irreversible dental as well as medical conditions such as cavities, periodontal disease, infection, bone loss and can contribute cardiovascular disease as well as stroke.
At our office routine cleanings begin with review of medical and dental histories, any dental discomfort discussed and assessed, radiographic evaluation if necessary, periodontal (pocket) recording, making note of existing dental restorations and missing teeth in our software, cancer check, thorough cleaning and polish of your teeth, oral hygiene instruction and recommendations, followed by an examination by the dentist. If you have sensitive teeth, we have several options available to make your cleaning more comfortable for you. Most of our cleanings take between 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes. We allow 30 minutes for pre-school and elementary aged children.
We have two hygienists at our office. If you have a preference for one over the other, please state this when making your appointment.
If you have anxiety towards your cleaning appointment, we do offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to assist in your comfort level. For extreme cases, an oral sedative can be taken but it will be necessary to have transportation to/from our office.