The foundation of a healthy smile is healthy gums. And the greatest threat to that foundation is periodontal disease. However, periodontal disease can be treated and is more than necessary to keeping your teeth for life! Here’s how periodontal therapy is different from a regular cleaning and how this therapy can do wonders for your oral health.
What is periodontal therapy?
Also referred to as periodontal scaling and root planing, periodontal therapy is an important part of your preventative dental care routine. It’s especially important as a method for treating periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gums that can cause gum detachment, bleeding, and bone loss. Affecting nearly half of all adults over 30 years old, this disease can also cause tooth loss and is the main reason that patients need dentures.
Periodontal therapy procedure
During periodontal therapy, the hygienist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area so that patients are more comfortable. The hygienist then removes the bacteria and tartar where they have accumulated on root surfaces under the gum line.
This removal is important, because if left untreated, the infection can result in pocket formations as the gum detaches from the tooth. Moreover, the bacteria will eventually deteriorate the bone that holds the teeth in place.
Next, the hygienist uses scalers and an ultrasonic cleaner to get rid of any plaque and tartar from your teeth and roots. And although this may sound uncomfortable, it’s not. The area is numb, and you can even choose nitrous and sedation to help with dental anxiety. The therapy lasts for an hour and a half, and most patients usually require only two sessions.
After the procedure, the gums can begin to heal, and pockets will hopefully decrease. Good oral health care and routine hygiene appointments are key to seeing the best results with periodontal therapy.
How is periodontal therapy different from regular cleaning?
Whereas regular cleaning is more like a prophylactic, or preventative, process, periodontal therapy is a treatment for periodontal disease. Standard prophylactic cleaning includes smaller plaque cleanups and the traditional at-home oral care of flossing and brushing.
However, this standard prophylactic cleaning will not treat periodontal disease. For this disease, a hygienist performs periodontal therapy, which is the only way to slow and possibly stop the disease from progressing.
What you can expect after periodontal therapy
After periodontal therapy, some patients experience slight gum sensitivity, and some don’t feel any at all. If you experience it, know that it usually subsides in about 24 hours.
You should also expect to return in three months to reevaluate your gum health and to get maintenance cleanings. Your dentist will keep you on this 3 month schedule to help prevent a relapse of periodontal disease and a worsening condition of your gum tissue and bone.
3 benefits of periodontal therapy
Regardless of the reasons for developing periodontal disease, which may include bad oral hygiene habits, genetics, or other health conditions, periodontal therapy is a must for treating the condition. Here are three reasons why.
1. It helps prevent tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is known to cause tooth loss. This happens because bacteria under the gum line can cause bone loss and gum detachment, which leaves teeth without the foundation that holds them in place.
2. It improves overall health.
Removing bacteria from your mouth can improve your oral health as well as your overall health. This is because research has linked oral bacteria to strokes, heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy complications.
3. It prevents bad breath.
Many patients experience chronic bad breath, also called halitosis. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that produces waste and a distinct odor, it’s not going to resolve with mints and mouthwash. Only removing the source of the odor will bring lasting results.
Does insurance cover periodontal therapy?
This depends on your particular health insurance plan. However, most insurance plans cover some of the costs. Some will even cover it all if you have existing health issues. The staff at Dean Dental Solutions can guide you through this process and can even offer a unique Wellness Club program that gives you great price options.
For more information
If you have periodontal disease, then periodontal therapy is a must. Quick intervention is key to treating this condition, which is why you be evaluated for treatment as soon as possible. Contact Dean Dental Solutions today at (501) 271-3735, or submit this form to request an appointment.