If you've been diagnosed with periodontal disease, then you'll likely need to schedule an appointment for periodontal scaling as soon as possible. If it’s not treated quickly, it can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Read on to learn more about:
What to expect from a scaling appointment
What kind of follow-up care will be necessary to manage it
The Initial Diagnosis
People are most often diagnosed with periodontal disease when they haven’t gone to the dentist in a long time. It starts as gingivitis, which can be cured. But if not treated in those early stages, gingivitis turns into periodontal disease. This is treatable but not curable.
Specifically, periodontal disease refers to a bacterial infection of the gums that spreads to the jaw bone that supports teeth. It eventually results in bone loss.
The Scaling Appointments
The purpose of a scaling appointment is to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line. The procedure cleans out pockets between the gum line and the bone underneath. This is key to maintaining the disease. It also increases the health of the gums by reducing swelling and redness.
Patients typically are numbed during periodontal scaling. It involves cleaning deep underneath the gum line. Dentists may recommend two scaling appointments so the entire mouth doesn't need to be numbed at once.
During each appointment, excess plaque and tartar from below the gum line will be removed on each tooth. Appointments can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour or more, depending on how severe the case is.
After the scaling, patients who maintain their dental hygiene should never have to do the process again. However, they will need to have regular periodontal maintenance cleanings. These are more in-depth than a traditional cleaning. They should be done once every three to four months. This follow-up care is absolutely vital in keeping the disease from progressing.
Living with periodontal disease is no walk in the park, but by having a thorough periodontal scaling done and following up regularly with maintenance cleanings, it is often possible to save your teeth.