The treatment of periodontal disease begins in its initial phase with the well-known “gum scaling”, a procedure that is also called “curettage”, “deep oral cleaning” or “gum cleaning”.
Find out the importance of gum scaling if you have periodontal disease
- Why and when is it necessary to perform this gum scaling?
- What are the dental scaling and root planing techniques?
- How is gum scaling different from a cleaning?
- What should we do to prevent periodontitis?
1. Why and when is it necessary to perform this gum scaling?
Periodontitis, also known as pyorrhea, is a pathology caused by bacteria that adhere to the root of the tooth. These microorganisms invade the gum sulcus and penetrate inside the gum, destroying the connective tissue, causing gum inflammation and producing the so-called periodontal “pockets”. In other words, the gum “separates from the tooth” and bacterial plaque penetrates through it, destroying the bone that holds the tooth, hence the need for this type of cleaning.
2. What do the dental scaling and root planing techniques consist of?
Root planing consists of the removal of bacteria adhering to the root surface of the tooth by means of various instruments:
- In the first phase, ultrasound is used to remove bacterial plaque, that is, to remove the hard calculus or “tartar” adhering to the root.
- In a second phase, instruments called “curettes” are used, which facilitate access to the root of the tooth below the gum and are finer and more meticulous than ultrasonic tips.
- In the third and last phase of the process, the root is smoothed with the same curettes to leave a homogeneous, smooth and polished surface.
This technique of gum scaling is performed under anesthesia to avoid discomfort to the patient and to be able to access the cleaning of the deepest pockets. In addition, it is sometimes possible to apply antiseptic or antibiotic substances between the gum and the tooth to improve the results.
Normally, to perform these scrapings, the mouth is divided into four parts or quadrants, upper right and left, and lower right and left. One or two quadrants are treated each day. Sometimes the periodontist (gum dentist) may decide to do it all in one day. It will depend on the complexity of each case and on a previous assessment and diagnosis.
3. How is gum scaling different from a cleaning?
A conventional cleaning or prophylaxis removes tartar and bacteria around the tooth superficially and does not require anesthesia. Scaling is a more advanced treatment technique, where bacteria must be removed from under the gum. This requires training and handling of specific instruments. The periodontist usually treats patients with periodontitis together with the dental hygienist (oral hygiene specialist) during the treatment and subsequent maintenance phases.
4. What should we do to prevent periodontitis?
To avoid having this periodontal disease what you have to do is:
- Have a proper brushing technique, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Flossing and interdental brushing daily.
- Clean and scrape the tongue with a tongue scraper.
- No smoking.
- Eat a healthy diet in terms of fruits, vegetables and vitamins.
- Perform a “quality” professional mouth cleaning or dental prophylaxis once or twice a year to prevent bacteria from the mouth from penetrating below the gum line.
- See your dentist when you notice signs such as bleeding gums, bad breath, gum recession or receding gums, or tooth mobility.
Periodontal disease has a high prevalence in the population. When it appears in its initial stages, treatment by “scaling” is highly effective, safe and painless, and can prevent the loss of teeth and the need for other more complex and expensive treatments such as dental implants. Remember that dental health includes taking care of your gums.