How to Take Care of Your Teeth After Scaling and Root Planing/Surgery
You must brush regularly and clean between your teeth daily. While most people know the importance of brushing, they often don't understand the importance of cleaning between the teeth. Normal tooth brushing generally cannot reach between your teeth. Unfortunately, that is where most periodontal problems occur.
Because of this, you must floss or use some other deep cleaning for gums to get to those hard to reach places. Many periodontal patients have receded gums. That often creates enough space between adjacent teeth to allow the use of inter-dental cleaners other than floss. Special inter-dental brushes and wider types of floss and picks can be good choices in these circumstances.
Maintenance appointments may be needed more frequently now than in the past. The combination of daily home care and regular professional cleanings provide the best opportunity to maintain healthy gums.
Periodontal maintenance ranks between a routine dental cleaning and a "deep cleaning" dental procedure, or deep scaling and root planing that people with periodontal disease often get at the beginning of treatment. Periodontal maintenance therapy is typically done on patients who need a deeper cleaning, because they have pockets deeper than those found in periodontally healthy adults.
Patients occasionally have sensitive teeth following periodontal procedures. This may happen when unwanted deposits are moved from root surfaces, sometimes making teeth sensitive to temperature changes. Acids produced by oral bacterial plaque are also a major cause of sensitivity.
This sensitivity can make patients reluctant to brush and floss the areas that were treated. Even though it is not always easy, it is very important to keep brushing gently and flossing to remove the acid bacterial plaque. If this plaque is not routinely removed, sensitivity will persist and root decay may occur.
In almost all cases, sensitivity of teeth is a temporary problem that will go away on its own. Follow your dentist's instructions about brushing and flossing, and the healing process will reward your efforts.
At-home treatments for sensitivity may include desensitizing toothpastes or fluoride gels, but may take several weeks to be effective. If these include desensitizing fluorides, oxalates, varnishes, sealants, and bonding agents. If you feel the need for extra help, ask your dentist if one of these treatments may be right for you.
If gum tissue has been lost from the root (gum recession), your dentist may recommend a surgical gum graft to cover the root, protect the tooth and reduce the sensitivity. In cases where hypersensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal) treatment to eliminate the problem.
Do not smoke or use tobacco in any form. Smoking and chewing tobacco can make periodontal conditions more severe and make maintenance much more difficult. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Look for the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance on brushes, toothpastes, mouth rinses, and other oral care products. The ADA Seal is your assurance that a product has met ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. Both manual and powered toothbrushes can be effective. For most, the choice of a powered toothbrush is simply a matter of preference. However, arthritis sufferers or those with the after effects of a stroke may find it difficult or even impossible to brush and floss effectively, making a powered toothbrush essential.
Studies show that patients who follow through with periodontal maintenance therapy will do better than those who do not comply. Non-compliant patients have a greater tendency to need further periodontal treatment and are more likely to lose additional teeth. Since patients receiving periodontal treatment often need more frequent maintenance visits than other patients, your dentist may recommend changes in appointment frequency or may refer you to a periodontal specialist.
The teamwork between you and your dentist can not be over-emphasized. The combination of timely check-ups and everyday home care must be a part of your periodontal maintenance. Although these activities do not provide a 100% guarantee of long-term success, most patients fare better.
So, whenever you're ready to schedule your appointment, we can go further in figuring out how to ensure smooth and quality maintenance for you. If you haven't been in yet, go ahead and contact us about your concerns, needs, and desires.