When you go to the dentist for your routine cleaning appointment, you probably don't want to hear that you are in need of more serious dental and periodontal care. However, if your dental hygienist and dentist recommend that you come back in for a procedure known as root planing and scaling, you may be simultaneously surprised and unsure of what the procedure entails. Before you worry too much, you should get to know more about the procedure and what you can expect. That way, you can be sure that you are doing the right thing for your oral health and that you are fully prepared for your upcoming dental appointment.
What It Is
A root planing and scaling procedure can best be explained as a deep cleaning of your teeth and gums. The procedure is designed to remove hardened plaque deposits from the teeth, particularly near and underneath the gum line. These deposits create pockets in the gum that separate the gums from the teeth, which exposes the roots of the teeth and causes periodontal disease.
Essentially, the hardened plaque leads to progressive gum disease. The root planing and scaling procedure chips away at and removes that hardened plaque from your teeth and gums so that your gum tissue can heal and reattach to the teeth without those pockets, gaps, and gum recession issues persisting. The deep cleaning allows you to reverse your gum disease before it gets significantly worse.
How to Prepare for the Procedure
Preparing for your root planing and scaling procedure is not too different from your regular recommended dental care routine. You should continue to thoroughly brush your teeth two to three times a day and floss twice a day. If your teeth are sensitive and you have gum bleeding, using a soft bristle toothbrush and a toothpaste designed to help protect sensitive teeth can also help ease your discomfort in the meantime.
Root planing and scaling is done using a local anesthetic such as a numbing mouthwash or Novocaine injections. This means that you can drive yourself to the appointment and should be fine to get back home on your own after the fact. Just do not make any big plans in the few hours afterwards as your mouth will be numb.
How to Recover from the Procedure
After your root planing and scaling procedure, your gums and teeth may be somewhat more sore and sensitive than usual. The pain will be relatively minor and can be improved with over-the-counter pain medications and salt water rinses. The gum tissue will need to heal and reattach to the teeth.
Generally, the gums and teeth are only sore for a few days up to a few weeks after the procedure. Full healing of the gum tissue can take between one or two months depending on the severity of your gum disease. Continuing a healthy daily dental care routine and making sure to go to all follow-up appointments after the fact will also help you to heal more quickly and get better overall results from the procedure.
With this information in mind, you can be sure that you are prepared for your upcoming dental appointment and that you can take better care of your teeth and gums going forward. For more information, contact local professionals like Centre Family Dentistry.