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    Scaling and Root Planing


    All PPO Insurance Accepted


    Free Dental Exams & X-Rays


    Financing Available

    Plaque and hard calculus accumulate around your teeth and gum pockets, and you are at a high risk of experiencing dental complications. Upon consulting an experienced dentist, they may recommend scaling and root planing to help you remove the buildup. Undergoing the procedures involves several invasive steps, as the dentist must retrieve plaque and calculus from deep tooth pockets. Working with a skilled dentist is, therefore, essential, as their experience directly impacts the outcome of the process.

    At The Lakewood Dentist, we provide high-quality services and professional advice on restoring your dental health and performing your procedures. Our team is equipped to complete a scaling and root planing procedure soon after your first consultation, allowing you to recover sooner. You can also rely on us to provide support after the procedures, specifically on maintaining the new results and preventing plaque buildup in the future. Our team is ready to perform scaling and root planing procedures for clients in need in Lakewood, California.

    What Scaling and Root Planning Entail

    When your dental routine is inconsistent, a hard layer called plaque may form around your teeth, resulting in compromised dental health. You may also notice a color change in your teeth, often a yellowish stain on the enamel. Upon seeing these signs, consider consulting with your dentist on whether you qualify for scaling and root planing as a remedy.

    Scaling and root planing are dental procedures that remove hardened plaque and calculus from your teeth surfaces and pockets. They often go hand in hand, primarily if your dentist identifies a significant plaque formation in specific parts of your dental structure.

    Tooth scaling requires your dentist to remove hardened layers called calculus from around the tooth enamel, which often entails repetitive scraping on the calculus layer. Your dentist also removes plaque formed around and inside your gum line to prevent additional deposits and potential infections.

     However, undertaking this step requires extra care, which may cause gum irritation or excessive bleeding. Therefore, the dentist handling your case determines if scaling in the gum line is necessary. They may also offer alternative solutions to prevent continuous plaque formation in the gums. They include specific mouthwash usage, brushing style changes, or using a different toothbrush.

    Conditions that Warrant Scaling and Root Planing

    Although you may explore alternative options to prevent plaque buildup, scaling, and root planing provide valuable benefits that allow you to restore your oral health. Specifically, the procedures help eliminate the signs of infection, giving you a better chance of fully recovering.

    Your dentist also ensures they apply sufficient skill when conducting scaling and root planing to help you receive value for money. The following are conditions that your dentist may help manage by performing a scaling and root planing procedure:

    Swollen Gums

    When plaque and calculus form in the gum line, they hinder proper circulation, causing the gums to become irritated and swollen. Additionally, the layer often hosts harmful bacteria, increasing your risk of gum infection, which may also spread inside your roots.

    Gum inflammation results from accumulated pus, indicating an infection requiring urgent dental intervention. The inflamed pockets have accumulated pus of dead white blood cells that fight off disease-causing microbes.

    Your dentist eradicates bacteria spread by scaling and root planing, as the microbes lack a conducive environment to grow and spread. Further, scaling and root paling help restore proper circulation in your gums for better nourishment.

    Teeth Movement

    Healthy gums hold your teeth in position, providing the required support and nourishment to maintain good oral health. However, plaque forming around the gumline compromises your well-being by introducing additional bacteria and hardened calculus. Teeth movement thus indicates poor gum health, as your gums cannot support the teeth in position to promote proper chewing, biting, and dental alignment.

    Signs of tooth movement include developing gaps not resulting from tooth loss or other external factors. Additionally, you notice the teeth moving if you apply deliberate force by shaking or pushing the teeth. The movement is more apparent when compared to someone with normal gums because the teeth are more susceptible to gentle pressure. Based on this, you are at a higher risk of reduced dental function, including losing your teeth, if they do not receive the required nutrients.

    Persistent Bad Breath

    An early sign of a tooth infection is persistent bad breath, often associated with bacteria growth and spread. Bad breath occurs when bacteria break down sugar and other stuck food particles around your teeth, releasing waste chemicals that produce a foul smell.

    Moreover, the bad breath may result from dead white blood cells that accumulate as pus, resulting in the symptom. With scaling and root planing, your dentist removes the stubborn plaque and calculus deposits that allow bacteria to grow, helping you eradicate the condition.

    Changes in Your Bite Position

    Your bite position is the natural alignment of your teeth when your mouth is at rest and closed. A healthy bite comprises aligned upper and lower jaw teeth, with the teeth on the upper jaw slightly protruding from the lower ones. If you notice a change in your bite position, it may be from teeth movement, as your gums cannot support your teeth firmly in position.

    Subsequently, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing to begin your recovery journey, as the processes help improve your gum health. At the same time, the procedures allow you to seek further dental treatment, including orthodontic realignment, to remedy the change in bite position.

    Pre-Treatment Processes

    Before your dentist begins the scaling and root planing process, they request that you submit to pre-treatment procedures. These steps benefit the overall treatment outcome, allowing the dentist to source sufficient information on your case. You also participate directly in the preparation stage by following the dentist’s directives before the appointment.

    The main pretreatment steps to undertake are:

    The Scaling and Root Planing Process

    Your dentist can begin the scaling and root planing procedure after completing the pre-treatment processes. We treat each patient’s case differently based on the presenting characteristics, as some have more severe plaque accumulation than others.

    The following are the steps we follow when completing the scaling and root planing processes:

    1. Finding the Plaque and Tartar for Removal

    Based on the findings made during your physical examination, your dentist uses various tools to find plaque pockets for removal. Among them is a dental light to magnify the most affected regions, as the unique light increases visibility along the gumline.

    After identifying the pockets, your dentist may use a sharp explorer tool to dig into them and determine how much plaque and calculus have accumulated. For deeper pockets, expect them to use a unique tool called an air jet to gauge how deep the various plaque pockets are.

    The identification process may take some time, as your dentist intends to remove all plaque and calculus deposits for improved oral health. If you experience pain during the process, mention it to the dentist to draw their attention to the specific area and to be extra careful when working around it.

    1. Administering Local Anesthesia

    Scaling and root planing are minimal to moderately invasive processes, making anesthesia an essential part of the process to protect you from unnecessary pain. Despite this, you receive local anesthesia and will be awake throughout the procedure.

    Remaining awake is often necessary because the dentist may need your assistance during the two procedures. For example, they may ask you to raise your tongue, turn your face towards a specific side, or hold your teeth in a bite position.

    1. Scaling the Identified Tooth

    The scaling process requires the dentist to use a scaler to scrape off hardened plaque deposits along the tooth surface. They must insert the tool at an optimum angle, taking care not to cause abrasions or injuries on the surrounding gums as they work around the plaque pockets.

    Your dentist repeats the procedure for each identified tooth to ensure no plaque deposition remains, so your appointment duration depends on the number of teeth worked on. During the process, you may experience pressure on your teeth because the dentist must use force to scrape the plaque. Despite this, you do not have to worry about pain, provided the dental team correctly administers the anesthesia.

    1. Root Planing

    After confirming that your tooth and gum line are clean, your dentist removes the plaque from the gums. The step is necessary because accumulated plaque builds into the root because of the force you create when chewing or biting.

    Root planing requires additional care, as your dentist accesses the sensitive parts of your tooth to reach the root. These include your blood capillaries, nerves, and gum tissue within the jawbone, which are critical for your teeth’s health.

    Since root planing is an intricate procedure, the procedure may last for hours to promote deep cleaning inside the gum line without causing pain or discomfort. After cleaning around your dentine and root, your dentist removes the sharp tool and folds the gum used as a point of entry back into position.

    1. Mouth-Flashing and Pushing Teeth Back in Position

    To conclude the scaling and root planing process, your dentist flashes your mouth using water and dental solution. They introduce the liquid to the operated areas and ask you to spit it out after swirling it. Completing the procedure with this step is crucial, as it prevents bacteria from accumulating on the freshly cleaned areas for better chances of a smooth recovery.

    The flashing process also allows the dentist to apply pressure to your gums to push them back into position. Doing so is necessary because it closes air pockets that may otherwise harbor bacteria or accumulate food deposits, resulting in dental complications in the future.

    Possible Risks After Undergoing Scaling and Root Planing

    While the possibility of risks occurring is low, you are in a better position to care for yourself after the procedure if you know them. Thus, your dentist must elaborate on the risks of a scaling and root planing procedure to help you make an informed decision.

    Further, some patients may face higher risks of complications than others based on their medical history and the severity of plaque accumulation, among other reasons. The following are the most commonly reported risks after patients undergo scaling and root planing:

    Infections that Cause a Fever

    An infection occurs when bacteria overpower your white blood cells, resulting in additional body reactions that compromise your health. Among these is a high fever as your body attempts to create a non-conducive environment for the bacteria.

    You will likely suffer an infection causing a fever after scaling and root planing if your cleaning routine is ineffective in keeping off bacteria. This is especially true if your diet also includes high-sugar foods, resulting in increased bacterial development.

    When the fever sets in, contact a doctor immediately to receive the appropriate medical response. You should also notify your dentist of the condition to help them establish an effective remedy that reduces your exposure to bacteria. After receiving your prescription, the infection should clear over time, and your doctor will call you in for monitoring.

    Increased Tooth Sensitivity

    Root planing may trigger increased tooth sensitivity because the dentist may access your nerves through the dentine. You will notice increased sensitivity if you already live with the condition, as you become more reactive to various triggers, like temperature differences.

    On the other hand, you may develop tooth sensitivity from undergoing the procedure, exposing you to a new sensation that causes discomfort. If so, inform your dentist of the sharp pains and schedule a follow-up appointment to help them prescribe a solution. For example, they may recommend a specific toothpaste brand to reduce the effects of tooth sensitivity on your overall well-being. 

    Bleeding Gums

    Patients with vitamin C deficiency are at a higher risk of developing bleeding gums after scaling and root planing procedures. Additionally, you may experience complications if the dentist in charge of your treatment needs to apply care and the necessary skills. As a result, they may have caused severe injuries to your gums that take time to heal.

    If the condition persists days after the procedure, schedule a review appointment with your dental team to seek a solution. Your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment to manage the bleeding and perform corrective work if the injury results from a procedure that was poorly executed by the previous team.

    Tips to Maintain Gum Health After Scaling and Root Planing

    After the procedure, you may experience discomfort for a few days as your gums readjust in their new position without the plaque and calculus surrounding them. To help you readjust, your dentist will provide various aftercare tips that you should do your best to observe.

    Each patient’s case differs, so the dentist may include additional guidelines to meet your needs. Taking the guidelines seriously is essential for your complete recovery, and your dentist remains available for further discussions or review appointments if needed. The main aftercare tips to observe include:

    Take Over the Counter Painkillers

    Since scaling and root planing involve accessing the inner parts of your teeth and dentine, you will likely experience moderate pain after the procedure. While some patients do not need pain management medication, your dentist may recommend over-the-counter drugs when needed.

    If you are allergic to a specific medication, consider providing the details during your consultation to avoid medical complications. You can also request a specific prescription if the drug does not help alleviate the pain. Over time, you will notice the pain subside, allowing you to recover fully.

    Avoid Crunchy and Sugary Foods

    Your gums and teeth are sensitive days after a scaling and root planing procedure, so you should avoid crunchy and sugary food for an easier recovery. Crunchy foods like potato chips often pierce through your gum pockets, irritating the recently operated areas. Due to this, you are more likely to experience pain compared to a patient who avoids this type of food.

    Moreover, sugary foods provide a conducive environment for breeding bacteria, exposing your gums and tooth surfaces to infections. You are at a higher risk, especially if you delay brushing your teeth after eating the sugary foods, so your dentist advises you to avoid them altogether.

    Avoid Smoking

    Smoking after scaling and root planing treatment harms your teeth, as it compromises the health of your gums and teeth. The hot smoke introduces unconducive conditions in your mouth, weakening your gums and teeth. The smoke also introduces tar, which coats your teeth and promotes plaque development.

    Once the harmful tar substance enters the freshly scaled teeth and gums, it leaves deposits that cause additional harm and dental complications. Therefore, your dentist will advise you against smoking for at least three days to a week to allow your gums to remain firmly in place. Avoiding smoking for the long term is also advisable, as it reduces your chances of developing future dental complications.

    Rinse Your Mouth With Salty Water for a Few Days

    A saltwater solution is beneficial to uphold oral hygiene after scaling and root planing. It has a mild antiseptic effect on your gums, making it harder for bacteria to breed in the recently worked-on areas.

    Saltwater is also effective in encouraging blood clotting and washing away stuck food particles, making it a milder option than mouthwashes. While using mouthwash in your oral hygiene routine is beneficial, the ingredients may be harsh because your gums are sensitive after scaling and root planing. Your dentist thus advises you to uphold the salt water rinsing for up to a week.

    Maintain a Consistent Oral Hygiene Routine

    After scaling and root planing, you must consistently brush and floss to ward off harmful bacteria. Good practice involves brushing gently over the tooth surfaces and gums to avoid irritating them after a scaling and root planing procedure.

    Further, your dentist guides you on the most effective brushing repetitions to apply as you aim to avoid causing injury to your gums. You may need to change your toothbrush to softer bristles to reduce the risk of bruising the gums.

    The Cost of Scaling and Root Planing

    Scaling and root planing require high-quality dental skills, so consider the costs. The average price of scaling and root planing ranges from $250 to $400 for every quadrant of your teeth. A quadrant includes eight teeth on either the jaw or the side of your mouth.

    Based on average pricing, your total costs vary depending on the number of teeth requiring scaling and root planing. If your dentist works on all your teeth, you can expect a higher charge compared to patients with specific teeth worked on.

    Dental costs can quickly increase, so discussing your payment options before receiving treatment is essential. Doing so allows you and the clinic to expect specific payment methods in preparation for treatment. Examples of payment options include using medical insurance if it covers dental procedures.

    Alternatively, you can consult your dentist on whether they accept repayment plans spread out over an extended duration. The option is suitable if you lack insurance coverage and cannot pay the sum upfront. With proper justifications and commitment, your dental team is happy to discuss the terms of your repayment plan.

    Find a General Dentist Near Me

    Dealing with the pain and discomfort after plaque builds up around your teeth and pockets can negatively affect your well-being. Moreover, you are more vulnerable to additional dental complications that could require serious emergency interventions. To avoid this, consider a scaling and root planing procedure, as it helps eliminate unwanted buildup around your teeth. When experiencing the process, ensure you work with a trusted and experienced dentist who understands the importance of completing the process with proper care.

    At The Lakewood Dentist, you receive excellent scaling and root planing services to help you restore your tooth. Our team understands the importance of performing the procedure correctly, and we are ready to help you regain your dental health. Moreover, you can count on us to provide helpful aftercare tips to prevent plaque from building up around your teeth in the future. This way, you have a better chance of avoiding recurrent dental complications and emergency operations. Our services are available to Lakewood, California, patients who want to undergo scaling and root planing. For more information on how to prepare for the procedure, call us today at 562-423-1441.

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    Find a Dentists Near Me

    Your smile is one of your defining features, and you should trust your oral and general health to an upstanding dental practice. The experienced team at The Lakewood Dentist is happy to be your family’s primary resource for practical and gentle dental services. With the proper care, you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful, and lasting smile, and we are excited to assist you in reaching your goals! Whether your smile needs restorative care to repair damaged teeth, cosmetic care to enhance your smile’s appearance, or you are looking for a new dentist to care for your family, we have your ultimate solution.

    Our friendly dentists welcome patients throughout Lakewood to discover why many choose us to meet their oral health needs. Whether you want to establish ongoing care, are new to the area, or want to discover how state-of-the-art technology can assist you feel and look your best, our practice has the technology, personalized approach, and skills you deserve. We will ensure you are comfortable during your visit.

    Contact our friendly team today at 562-423-1441 to learn more about our broad range of services and to get started!