Periodontal Maintenance – Portland, OR
How We Keep Gum Disease Away
Periodontal disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque and bacteria on your teeth that irritates your gum tissue. This irritation triggers an inflammatory response that causes your gums to swell. The early stage of periodontal disease is barely noticeable and can often be missed altogether. As it progresses, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria collect in these pockets, causing further irritation that leads to deeper pockets. The bacteria also begin to attack your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone, weakening these structures. Over time, your teeth begin to come loose and may even fall out. Treating periodontal disease is essential for restoring the health of your mouth and allowing your gums to recover. However, one treatment may not always be enough. Advanced Dental Arts NW can further help your gums heal with periodontal maintenance in Portland, OR.
What Is Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance is a series of regularly scheduled dental visits that are often performed following initial treatment for periodontal disease. These visits are typically recommended for periodontal disease treatment that did not yield effective results. The goal of these visits is to help stabilize your gums and your teeth, enabling your mouth to heal.
The frequency of your periodontal maintenance visits depends upon your specific situation. Some patients require visits every two months, while other patients can go six months between visits. During your visits, we first examine your mouth. We assess the buildup on your teeth and look over the condition of your gums. We measure your periodontal pockets to ensure that they are becoming shallower. We may also take X-rays, which will allow us to see the condition of the roots of your teeth and their supporting structures. After your teeth have been examined, we clean them of any buildup that may have accumulated since your last visit.
What Is Scaling and Root Planing?
Scaling and root planing is a procedure that is often used to treat periodontal disease. This treatment is a deep cleaning of your teeth that involves all of their surfaces, both above and below the gum line. While noninvasive, it is often done under a local anesthetic, which can aid in making you more comfortable.
The procedure begins with scaling. Using a scaler, we clean the visible surfaces of your teeth of all buildup, including the most stubborn tartar, or calcified plaque. We pay special attention to the areas around the gum line and just below it. Next, we move on to root planing. This is the smoothing of the surfaces of your tooth roots. When the surfaces are smooth, it is more difficult for new buildup to accumulate. Finally, an antibacterial rinse is administered below the gums to kill any lingering bacteria.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to our office or read on to learn more about scaling and root planing in Portland.
Who Does Tooth Scaling & Root Planing Benefit?
About half of Americans who are over age 30 typically experience some form of periodontal disease. Additionally, nearly three in four adults over the age of 65 are struggling with this condition. Therefore, the older you get, the more vulnerable you are to developing periodontitis. Since scaling and root planing are designed to effectively clean the surface of the teeth, especially below the gum line, most people can benefit from this treatment. However, several factors can increase the risk of periodontitis, including:
- Smoking tobacco
- Poor oral hygiene
- Family history of periodontal disease
- Crooked teeth or an overbite (malocclusion)
What Is Recovery Like After Tooth Scaling & Root Planing?
Since you’ll likely be provided with a local anesthetic beforehand, the treatment itself shouldn’t be painful. Once your procedure is over, you may experience some soreness and swelling in your gums. You might even feel some tooth sensitivity, as we will have cleaned the surface of your roots. Fortunately, our team will provide you with specific instructions on how to manage your recovery. Most of these methods will include:
- Taking prescribed pain relievers and antibiotics
- Eating soft foods, like mashed potato and applesauce
- Avoiding drinks and meals that are tooth hot or cold
- Using an antimicrobial mouthwash
What Are the Risks of Tooth Scaling & Root Planing?
The most notable aspect of tooth scaling and root planing is that it may cause mild discomfort during your recovery. However, this is typically short-lived and easy to manage. The procedure is designed to help keep you from losing gum tissue, teeth, and bone, so the overall risks are minimal. That said, patients who have certain heart conditions, such as endocarditis, or have synthetic heart valves might require antibiotics before undergoing the treatment. This will help lower their risk of bacterial infection. If this is something concerning you, be sure to consult your dentist and cardiologist if this preventive step is necessary.
What Are the Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance provides a multitude of benefits:
- It helps ease the irritation and inflammation of your gums.
- It slows and stops the progression of gum disease.
- We remove all buildup, even the most stubborn tartar, from the surfaces of your teeth.