A periodontist performs periodontal plastic surgery to help restore damage caused by gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of gum tissues caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar. The infection leads to antibodies being dispatched to the area, leading to inflammation and damage to structures that support teeth.Gingivitis is the first stage of…
What a Periodontist Does in Root Surface Debridement
The most common procedure that a periodontist performs is removing plaque and tartar from their patients’ teeth. This procedure helps to remove the bacterial infection that causes gum disease and its symptoms. With time, monitoring, and a few follow-up procedures, the periodontist can restore the health of their patient’s teeth and gums. In the following sections, you get to read about how a periodontist removes plaque and calculus from the tooth roots.
A periodontist explains gum disease and its treatment
Harmful mouth bacteria will mount an attack on the teeth and gums whenever they can. Sometimes the bacteria will attack the enamel by creating acids that cause cavities and tooth decay. The bacteria can also infect the inner tooth causing pulpitis, which typically requires root canal therapy to resolve.
The same bacteria can also accumulate at the base of the teeth inside plaque. If the plaque remains at the gum line, it will eventually harden to form tartar or calculus. Think of calculus as a city or a staging area that bacteria use to attack gum tissues. The bacterial attack of the gums causes the following symptoms:
- Deep gum pockets form as the gums separate from the tooth roots
- Gum recession
- Tooth sensitivity
- Sore, tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Moderate to severe gum disease may cause loose teeth
Periodontists remove the root cause of gum disease by scouring the tooth roots to dislodge plaque and tartar. This procedure goes by the name scaling and root planing, or root surface debridement. Here is what to expect from the procedure.
Root surface debridement: an explainer
The periodontist will first apply a topical anesthetic before completely numbing their patient’s gums. They then use a scaling tool to dislodge plaque and tartar from the base of the teeth. The periodontist will then use a planing tool to scrape plaque and tartar from the surface of the tooth roots.
As they dislodge the plaque and tartar, the periodontist will keep rinsing out the gum pockets to wash away the debris. For severe cases of gum disease, the periodontist will apply antibiotics to the gums. The medication works to kill any infection that remains in the soft tissues of the gums.
The action of debriding the surfaces of the tooth roots stimulates the regeneration of gum tissue. This goes a long way to cause the reattachment of gum tissue to the tooth roots. In time the gum pockets become smaller, reverting to their ideal depth of three millimeters.
Advances in root surface debridement
The traditional way of performing scaling and root planing is with a mechanical scaler and a mechanical planing tool. Nowadays, some periodontists use ultrasonic tools to break up and dislodge tartar from the tooth roots. This is a less invasive alternative to mechanical tools.
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Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation if you are in the Woodland Hills area. Our periodontist will work with you to develop a custom course of treatment to restore your gum tissues.
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Enlisting the services of a periodontist is a good idea if you have gum pain and other symptoms of gum disease. For minor and moderate gum disease, improving your oral hygiene may be enough to correct the problem. As the disease progresses, other techniques such as planing and scaling can treat the effects. In the…