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How Tooth Scraping Can Help You Keep Your Teeth for Life

Colgate, the toothpaste giant, has estimated that as many as 75 percent of adults in the U.S. have some form of gum disease (gingivitis or its more worrisome cousin, periodontal disease).

Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums (least) to loose teeth on up to teeth that fall out of your gums (worst). Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and, if left untreated will lead to periodontal disease and if the periodontal disease isn’t treated, you will lose one or more teeth.

Here’s what happens when your periodontal disease gets really bad: the inner layer of your mouth’s bone and gum start to pull away from the teeth (called receding), creating pockets around your tooth. Food and other debris can get caught in these pockets, which can lead to infection. Your body’s immune system then takes up the flag and fights the bacteria as the infection grows below your gum line.

As time goes on, toxin in the bacteria, as well as your body’s own enzymes, fight the infection, but as they do so, they can actually start to break down the bone and tissue that holds your teeth in place. Should you still go untreated, the periodontal disease progresses and the pockets around your teeth grow deeper and more and more of your gum’s tissues and your bones are destroyed. Because there’s nothing holding your teeth in your mouth, they eventually will fall out

As far as treatment goes, in addition to insisting that you start taking proper care of your teeth (brushing, flossing, etc.), if your Plano dentist determines that you’ve already lost some bone and/or your gums have receded a certain percentage from your teeth, he may recommend tooth scaling and root planing (SRP). Scaling is a procedure that scrapes the plaque and tartar from below as well as above your gum line. Root planing smoothes out the rough spots on your teeth (where germs tend to collect), helping remove the bacteria that can contribute to periodontal disease.

These techniques are intensive deep cleaning treatments and, while not extremely unpleasant experiences, definitely are not a day at the beach.

Your dentist more than likely will perform the treatments in his office. Chances are you will be given an anesthetic (your dentist will have to move your gums away from your teeth so that he may scrape the teeth). The dentist may have to make one or more incisions in your gum line and, if so, may have to close the incisions with stitches (they more than likely will be the type that just dissolves).

Root scraping and tooth planing are wonderful things: they can help save your teeth! But – take my word for it – you really don’t want to go through these treatments.

And by far the best way to never have to is to take proper care of your teeth. You know how to do so; just do it!

If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal disease, contact my office for an appointment.

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