Periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth.
Scaling and root planing is the most common and conservative form of treatment for periodontal disease. Scaling is the removal of calculus (commonly called tartar) and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Plaque is more likely to stick to rough surfaces. For this reason, the root surface is smoothed down in a process called root planing.
Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients may not require any further active treatment, including surgical therapy. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health. Non-surgical therapy does have its limitations, however, and when it does not achieve periodontal heath, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices.
For more information regarding periodontal health and systemic health and periodontal health linked to cardiovascular health please visit the American Academy of Periodontology.
If you are interested in how periodontal disease may be affecting you please contact our office for a consultation appointment.