In this treatment, plaque and tartar that have caused infection to your gums are carefully removed down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. This treatment may be done over several visits, depending on your needs and insurance benefits. The tooth's root surfaces are then smoothed, or planed, to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. This is sometimes called "periodontal cleaning" or "deep cleaning" and may take more than one visit.
Your dentist also may recommend medications to help control infection and pain or to aid in healing. These medications could include a pill, a mouth rinse, or a substance that the dentist or hygienist places directly in the periodontal pocket after scaling and root planing. If you smoke or chew tobacco products, it is important to quit. Your dentist may also advise you to talk to your physician about any other health problems that may be affecting your oral health.
Once the scaling and root planing treatment is complete, another appointment will be made 4-6 weeks out. At this appointment, the dentist or hygienist will look at your gums to see how they have healed and measure the periodontal pockets again. If the disease continues to advance to the point where the periodontal pockets get deeper and the supporting bone is lost, more treatment may be necessary with a specialist.
Care After Treatment
Once your periodontal treatment is completed, your dentist may recommend more frequent checkups. Regular dental visits and deep cleanings are important to keep your periodontal disease under control. In some cases, your appointments may alternate between your general dentist and a periodontist.
Good oral hygiene at home is important to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from coming back. It just takes a few minutes twice a day to care for your teeth and gums. Daily home cleaning helps keep the plaque under control and reduces tartar buildup. Your dentist and hygienist will work with your specific needs to formulate an appropriate at-home routine to maintain your oral health. This may include adding products such as a Waterpik and particular mouthwashes to help in your cleaning routine at home.