Dr. Stone's Office


April 17, 2017
Posted By: Jamie Stensland, RDH
Image showing scaling and root planing procedure

            Ok, since you read the previous blog, now it's treatment time.  Based on the amount of bone loss we are able to treat the disease here in our office with scaling and root planing.  If the disease has progressed significantly we may refer you to a periodontal specialist.

            Scaling and root planing, also known as a "deep cleaning" is a conventional periodontal therapy, nonsurgical process of removing/eliminating the disease causing agents.  This cleaning is performed both above and below the gum line to remove dental plaque and calculus (tartar).  Typically we numb the gum tissue and use both manual and ultrasonic instruments.  Following this procedure we recommend a prescription rinse. 

            After gum disease has been treated, it is extremely important to maintain your care to keep the disease from progressing.  We are able to do this with a combination of good homecare and more frequent cleanings called periodontal maintenance.  I know you were hoping after the hours we spent together "scraping" your gums meant we were done, finished, never to deal with me again. Sorry, I'll see you in three-months.  This interval is vital in controlling the disease.  The bacteria that cause gum disease, like I stated before, never completely goes away. The bacteria replicate and spread every 2-3 months.  During the periodontal maintenance visits I am able to reach deep into those pockets and disrupt the cell membrane of the bacteria.  This will cause the bacteria load on your body to be knocked down, and keep it at bay until it regrows.  Remember our goal is maintenance; anything that improves is a bonus.

            A "regular" cleaning is not appropriate after scaling and root planing.  A regular cleaning is to prevent disease, a periodontal maintenance is to treat and control the disease.  Typically, a regular cleaning is removing tartar and plaque above the gum line.  If we only cleaned above the gum line we would be missing what's lurking below the gums. In reality, all the hard work from scaling root planing would be essentially wasted.  The bacteria would continue to grow and spread.  There is a much greater occurrence of needing retreatment = more scaling and root planing.   

            In conclusion, do your best to prevent gum disease.  If you already have gum disease or it happens to creep up on you, we will use the latest technology to help you combat the infection.  Just remember after all that hard work we still need to maintain.  If the infection gets out of control, back to square one with re-scaling and root planing. 

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