Everyone has heard of gum disease nowadays but what is it really? When the tissue around the tooth, which is like a moat around a castle, builds up a gritty material, it gets infected. This material is made of calcium and is called calculus. The calcium comes out of the saliva in your mouth. Some people accumulate more than others so that is why we suggest patients have two to four cleanings a year. Cleanings are based on these accumulations of calcium and the patient’s ability to clean it off.
If patients have not been in for a long time, a more involved procedure is needed taking more time and possible numbing of the areas affected. This is called a scaling (cleaning) and root planning (smoothing of the root tissues). This type of cleaning goes deeper and is more aggressive. Once the bulk calcium is removed almost all patients go into normal cleaning mode.
Occasionally gum disease affects an area where a lot of bone is lost. At this time a referral to a periodontal specialist might be in order. I have a great working relationship of over 25 years with a local periodontist.