If your gums become red, tender, and inflamed, then you may be developing gum disease. This infection is not only detrimental to the health of your mouth, but your body as well. Luckily, your dentist provides scaling and root planing procedures to treat gum disease.
How Gum Disease Develops
Gum disease develops because of plaque and calculus (hardened plaque which is also called tartar). These substances harm not only the teeth, but the gums as well. When plaque and calculus extend under the gum line, they cause infection and inflammation which is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.
Gingivitis is easily reversed through professional cleaning and personal dental hygiene, but when it is left untreated, it can become periodontitis. In this advanced stage of gum disease, the gums pull away from teeth, creating periodontal pockets which collect and trap even more plaque and calculus. Gum tissue can eventually be destroyed, which results in tooth loss and other problems.
Scaling And Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are two of the most common treatments for gum disease. Scaling is a procedure normally performed at your routine check-ups. With the use of a scaler, your dentist scraps away plaque and calculus from the surface of the tooth. When treating gum disease specifically, your dentist will also scale above the gum line.
Root planing is a procedure which smoothes the surface of the tooth root. This not only helps the gums to reattach to your teeth, but prevents plaque and calculus from sticking there as well. Your dentist will use an instrument called a curette to smooth the tooth root surface.