Long Island periodontist Dr. Alan H. Farber explains that some patients need periodontal scaling to remove bacteria and promote long-term dental health.
Most of our patients come to see us and their dentist four times a year. We have what we call a preventive care program, and basically the more prevention, the more bacteria you keep out of your mouth. The bacteria that cause gum disease are different from the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and both types are removed when you have a professional cleaning. The positive result is less gum disease and less decay, which means less need for treatment and lower dental care costs.
However, when patients start to have early breakdown, periodontal pockets start to get a little deeper–beyond the 3mm range. There can be bleeding on examination and probing, and that is when we need to start with early periodontal disease treatment. One of the procedures that we utilize is called scaling and root planing.
Scaling is the removal of the bacterial toxins on the roots and planing means to smooth off the area, to smooth the root. This procedure is minimally invasive. We use a local anesthetic to numb the area for this procedure, so you remain comfortable. After the procedure there is a little bit of soreness or tenderness that goes away in about 24 hours. Your mouth feels healthier, your breath is better, and the gums start to heal.
People ask me all the time, “How often do I have to have scalings done or redone?” That question is difficult to answer because it really depends on what you do at home. If you are brushing and flossing every night, then there is less chance that you will need scaling again.
The bottom line is that the you might never need scaling again, or it could be in a year, or it could be in five years. So much depends on your daily dental hygiene routine, your immune system, your health condition, and personal habits such as smoking. The more you do at home to take care of your teeth and gums, the less you have to do in my office.
Dr. Alan H. Farber
Offices in Hauppauge and Medford, NY
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