What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, is a common periodontal procedure. Dr. Werkmeister’s Wexford office often performs this treatment on patients. It is an important step in an overall dental care plan to return gums to health and to keep them healthy. Here are some of the most common questions we hear from our patients about scaling and root planning.

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The Possible Consequences of Gum Disease

Gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease, affects millions of adults in the United States. It ranges from minor inflammation of the gums to critical problems that could cause your teeth to become loose and fall out. (In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults.)

Gum disease begins when plaque is not completely removed from teeth after eating. The food particles and the bacteria in your mouth form plaque, a sticky substance that, if not brushed or flossed away, can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a general dentist, hygienist, or periodontist.

What Are the Warning Signs of Gum Disease?

Unfortunately, gum disease often goes undetected for a time. The first signs that people notice are red, swollen gums or gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. This is called gingivitis, and can be treated with regular trips to the dentist and careful brushing and flossing.

If gum disease is not treated during this time, then it may produce inflammation around the tooth that can cause the gums to pull back from the teeth that they protect. Bacteria can then pool in and around these pockets, causing severe problems. This stage of inflammation is called periodontitis.

If you have bad breath, red or bleeding gums, swollen gums, receding gums, or loose teeth, ask your dentist if you should make an appointment with a periodontist.

How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Mouth and Overall Health?

Not all gum disease signs are necessarily caused only by your oral care habits. For example, it is common for pregnant women to have bleeding gums during pregnancy. Diabetics and smokers are more susceptible to gum disease.

Generally, people who have periodontitis are at a greater risk for losing healthy adult teeth when diseased gums pull away from the teeth and begin to harbor bacteria. Some studies have also found that those who have gum disease may be more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who don’t have gum disease. Pregnant women with periodontitis may also be more likely to deliver earlier than 38 weeks.

If you find that your gums are bleeding, red, or swollen, contact your family dentist, who can refer you to a periodontist like Dr. Werkmeister. His practice, in the North Hills / North Pittsburgh area, treats common gum problems like gingivitis and periodontitis. Call his office today to schedule an exam.

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New Staff Member Helps Marketing Efforts

Dr. Werkmeister’s North Hills office welcomes a new staff member, Stephanie Bigley. She joins our periodontal practice as the Office Relations Coordinator.

She will be taking on both administrative front desk tasks, as well as various marketing responsibilities around the Wexford and North Pittsburgh area. As the Marketing Specialist, she will be working with both other dental professionals and patients to make sure that everyone understands Dr. Werkmeister’s periodontal practice message: “Periodontics with a Caring Touch.”

Stephanie considers this message to be the most important part of her job, since Dr. Werkmeister and his staff want to ensure that people should never put off their periodontal care. Stephanie says, “I am extremely blessed to work for Dr. Werkmeister, and the way he truly cares for each and every patient has helped me to grow and learn quickly in the office.”

Marketing Background and a Love of Travel

Stephanie graduated from Robert Morris University’s Marketing program a year ago. RMU was her first and only choice for her education, and she loved her classes and professors.

“My Consumer Behavior class, taught by a successful business woman who I still look up to this day, was one of the many classes taken at RMU which solidified my decision to attend there. In this class, I was able to learn and observe what behavior shape buying patterns in my peers. It was practical information that I use at my job every day,” she explains.

She was a commuter student and stayed involved through various clubs on campus, including the College Republicans Club and the American Marketing Association RMU collegiate division.

Stephanie loves to travel. During every college break, she took the opportunity to travel with her father for his job. She’s been in, or through, every state in the continental United States. Her favorite places are the most secluded locations in Oregon and Washington, as well as Montana and Colorado.

If you call the office, and Stephanie answers, be sure to say hello!

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Why are my gums bleeding?

Time to Problem Solve

Improper or inconsistent dental hygiene can lead to bacteria buildup in the mouth, which results in red, swollen, and bleeding gums. This condition, called gingivitis, is quite common, and is not particularly painful for many people. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss.

Oral Care

What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis will cause your gums to become red, swollen, and soft, instead of pink and firm. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and/or floss, you could also have persistent bad breath. Gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene habits. Oral bacteria continuously form a sticky substance called plaque. If the plaque isn’t brushed off or flossed away quickly, it will harden into a substance called tartar. The presence of both plaque and tartar will irritate that part of your gums (like a splinter) and lead to gingivitis. Plaque also causes tooth decay. The good news is that if you catch gingivitis in its early stages and practice proper dental hygiene, you can reverse the effects.

You are at a risk for gingivitis if you:

  • have diabetes
  • are older
  • don’t brush and floss regularly
  • have a suppressed immune system
  • take certain medications
  • abuse drugs or alcohol
  • have dry mouth
  • are pregnant

Why Flossing is Important
One of the common things you hear people say is that they don’t floss because it makes their gums bleed. However, it’s very important to floss at least twice a day to remove the plaque that can’t be reached by a tooth brush. Even if you already have gingivitis, you should continue to floss so that plaque doesn’t have a chance to turn to tartar, which can eventually lead to periodontitis if it’s not removed. Once you’ve been brushing and flossing regularly, your gums should return to a healthy pink, and you should not see bleeding.

Tartar? Time to See a Pittsburgh Periodontist
If you notice blood during and after brushing or flossing, you should make an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning, or your dentist will refer you to a North Hills periodontist like Dr. Werkmeister. Your oral health is very important to your overall health, so call him today to set up an appointment.

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Why Gums Are Important To Your Overall Health

Your Gums are Important

Your gums help protect the bone that supports your teeth and helps to keep your teeth in place. This is why it’s so important to take care of your gums and prevent gum disease. However, poor oral health is not the only consequence of neglecting your gums—your overall health can actually suffer.

Werkmeister Periodontist

How Gum Disease May Put Your Health at Risk
Gum disease affects about 75 percent of people who are over the age of 18. While this condition can be successfully treated by a periodontist, if left untreated, it could eventually lead to serious health problems as well as tooth loss.

If you have gum disease, see your dentist as soon as you can. With periodontal disease, you may be at a greater risk for:

  • Developing heart disease
  • Developing complications in you have diabetes
  • Developing cancer. (Research has show that men with periodontal disease were nearly 50% more likely to develop kidney cancer and nearly 55% more like to develop pancreatic cancer.)

Gum disease may also increase the risk of respiratory infections, because the bacteria in your gums and mouth can possibly be aspirated into the lungs, which could cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Periodontal Disease Prevention
It’s not difficult to treat and then prevent gum disease. Always:

  • Visit your dentist every six month for regular cleanings. These visits will help to remove the tartar and plaque on your teeth.
  • Brush twice a day. We recommend that you brush after every meal, but if that’s not possible, then try to brush in the morning and at night to reduce the amount of tartar on your teeth.
  • Floss twice a day. Flossing removes food and the plaque that rests between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Use mouthwash. Vigorously switching mouthwash around helps wash away plaque and other particles that you may have missed.
  • Visit a periodontist. If you regular dentist suggests a visit to the periodontist, make an appointment right away. Periodontists are specially trained to identify, evaluate and treat gum disease.

If your dentist in the Pittsburgh area has suggested that you should visit a periodontist to treat gum disease, give Dr. Werkmeister a call today. He treats patients from the greater Pittsburgh area, including Cranberry, Wexford, and the North Hills. We look forward to seeing you.

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