Many people assume that gum disease always equals dental surgery. Actually, dental surgery is not the first choice for fighting gum disease. There is non-surgical treatment for gum disease. Your dentist, hygienist or periodontist will work together and perform two procedures that will often solve the problem without invasive surgery. The treatments are called root planning and scaling. This basically means a very deep and detailed dental cleaning.
Scaling is removing plaque build-up below the gum line. This is either done with a manual tool by scraping the plaque away or with the use of an ultrasonic tool. The ultrasonic tool is more comfortable to the patient because instead of scrapping the tooth a tiny vibrating wand is moved over the plaque build-up at high speeds side to side. The wand breaks the plaque up and it is washed away. In some extreme cases, the dentist will use (both) the wand and the manual scrapping device.
Root planning basically is a procedure where the dentist sands the spots on the tooth surfaces and roots that are rough and can attract and hold bacteria. Root planning and scaling are not extremely painful. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area and you will simply feel the pressure of the tools. If you are extremely sensitive your dental professional may suggest the use of gas to ease your pain and anxiety.
Root planning and scaling are common procedures and generally are not high risk to cause infections. However, your dentist may insert anti-biotic fibers in the gums while performing the process. After about a week, the fibers will come out on their own without pain or issue. Gum disease can be mild or can become serious. If there is tenderness, soreness, bleeding or sensitivity a patient should see their dental medical professional. In some cases, brushing teeth more often, flossing and dental cleaning may take care of it.
If the disease is too serious for the extra cleaning method, root planning and scaling may be scheduled. It is very important that this be taken care of quickly and efficiently. Gum disease has been linked to other health issues. Some of the health issues are very serious (such as stroke).