Gum disease occurs when hardened bacteria in the form of calculus, or tartar, builds up around the roots of the teeth, causing the gums to detach from the teeth, allowing more bacteria to accumulate in the pockets that have been formed. As the disease progresses, the pockets increase in size and the gums can become inflamed and swollen. The early stages of gum disease are known as gingivitis.
As the gum disease progresses further, the inflammation caused by the bacteria leads to the destruction of the surrounding bone and ligaments, and eventual tooth loss.
Thorough, deep cleaning is still the best line of attack on gum disease. We use piezo-electric scalers to loosen the calculus (tartar) and fine hand instruments to remove the remaining calculus and to polish the root surface.
Deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planing. In scaling our hygienist removes plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) and calculus, which is hardened plaque. Scaling is done above the gum line in cleanings and below the gum line in deep cleanings. Root planing is done to smooth any rough areas and remove any residual calculus. The smooth surface encourages the gums to reattach to the root and discourages plaque build-up.
Through our thorough deep cleanings and patient education we have helped many patients get their severe gum disease under control and save their teeth. When severe gum disease doesn’t respond to our treatment, we work with an excellent partner periodontist, a specialist in gum disease treatment.