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To keep your teeth healthy and your mouth relatively free of bacteria, you need to receive regular cleanings from DR. MARCELA ORTEGA / DR. CRISTINA IONESCU. If DR. MARCELA ORTEGA / DR. CRISTINA IONESCU finds any sign of gum disease during a checkup, you will need more than just the surface of your teeth cleaned. A deep cleaning below the gum line is called scaling and can prevent serious issues.
Plaque and tartar naturally builds up on your teeth, but it is impossible to remove with a toothbrush. To keep it in check, your body fights the bacteria in your mouth. However, at a certain point, it becomes too much to handle. Only a dentist with special tools can remove the tartar. With regular cleanings, you can avoid gum disease, which left alone could lead to tooth loss and other problems, including conditions unrelated to the mouth.
Plaque is a sticky substance that adheres to tooth structure and is teeming with bacteria. Over time, plaque becomes calcified (hardens) and at this stage, it becomes what is called calculus. Plaque and calculus are actually irritants to the tissues of your mouth. The reaction of your body to the irritants and the subsequent gum inflammation, gum recession, bleeding and eventual bone loss around the teeth constitute periodontal (gum) disease. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis (which is reversible) and is characterized by bleeding gums, especially when one brushes and flosses. If the disease is not addressed, it will progress to periodontitis, which is far more destructive and is characterized by further gum deterioration, bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss.
If you wait too long between cleanings, plaque will start building up below the gum line. This causes bacteria to create gum pockets and attack the jawbone. DR. MARCELA ORTEGA / DR. CRISTINA IONESCU will determine if your gum disease has reached this level with X-rays and will advise you on whether you need scaling treatment.
Scaling can involve manual tools, ultrasonic equipment, or a combination of the two. An ultrasonic device will knock the tartar off your teeth using sonic vibrations. Manual instruments allow DR. MARCELA ORTEGA / DR. CRISTINA IONESCU to scrape away the tartar by hand.
As scaling takes place below the gum line, you may require local anaesthetic, especially if your gums are particularly sensitive. DR. MARCELA ORTEGA / DR. CRISTINA IONESCUmay also provide you with a desensitizing paste for use after the treatment. Unlike regular cleanings, you may need to visit the clinic between two to four times to finish your scaling treatment.
Scaling and root planing are the most common form of treatment for periodontal disease. Scaling removes calculus (also called tartar) and plaque from the tooth surface above and below the gum line. Root planing improves the smoothness of the root's surface and removes any remaining calculus. When the amount of plaque and calculus to remove is extensive, DR. MARCELA ORTEGA / DR. CRISTINA IONESCU will numb the area to make the procedure comfortable for you. A combination of sonic and hand instruments are used in the procedure. The sonic instruments remove the large deposits of plaque and calculus. Hand instruments are then used to remove any remaining tartar and ensure all surfaces of the crown and root are clean and free of bacteria. Sensitivity and soreness may be present a few days following treatment and usually can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers.
A follow-up visit with Midtown Dental Studio is usually scheduled for four weeks following treatment to check the improvement of gingival status, and regular intervals (3-month and 6-month intervals are typical) thereafter to monitor the disease. The goals are to eliminate the active inflammation caused by bacteria and reduce the periodontal pockets around the teeth so they cannot trap plaque or calculus thus maintaining the present bone height around the teeth.