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Bacteria are always present in the mouth and produce a biofilm that clings to teeth. The sticky biofilm is known as plaque. Although plaque forms on teeth constantly, consistent oral hygiene can help control biofilms and limit bacterial growth. Root planing may be necessary if bacteria and plaque infect gum tissue.

Woman looking into a mirror at a dentist's office.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an infection of the soft tissues around teeth. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. If gingivitis is caught early before it spreads below the gum line, it may be resolved by professional tooth cleaning and more rigorous at-home oral care.

Chronic periodontitis is a type of gum disease that occurs when bacterial plaque forms on the surface of the teeth and causes inflammation of the gums and eventual loss of the supporting bone around teeth. This leads to large pockets around and between teeth.

How Does Periodontal Disease Harm My Health?

These pockets get deeper over time as gum tissue and bone continues to pull away from teeth. Food particles can also enter pockets in gums. A warm, moist environment with a readily accessible food source provides perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and thrive. The body’s natural response to infection is inflammation, so gums may become red, swollen, and sore.

Periodontitis may cause tooth loss or even bone damage. Loose teeth can shift and make eating difficult. Bacteria established in pockets can also cause chronic bad breath and tooth sensitivity. 

Potential health concerns go beyond the teeth and gums. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

What Are the Benefits of Root Planing?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chronic periodontitis affects up to 47 percent of American adults. The ADA recommends scaling and root planing (SRP) to treat periodontitis. 

Scaling and root planing are collectively referred to as deep cleaning. Scaling removes plaque from the tooth’s surface above the gum line, while root planing cleans tooth roots below the gum line.

Root planing removes bacteria and debris from gum pockets that are very hard to reach with a toothbrush, floss, or other routine oral care. A dentist uses a curette, scaler, or other instruments to remove bacteria and debris from tooth roots to prevent tooth decay and infection. Root planing also smooths root surfaces so gum tissue can heal and reattach to tooth roots.

Interested in Learning More?

If you are concerned about gum disease or want to have your teeth cleaned, call Dr. Salamati’s office at 310-275-1090 or contact us online. You can schedule a consultation to check for gum disease, then set up regular dental visits and cleaning appointments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.