Your mouth continuously accumulates bacteria throughout the day. If allowed to stay in place for too long, the film formed by the bacteria, called plaque, will harden into tartar. Unlike plaque, tartar is too tough to be removed by a toothbrush and floss. Instead it builds up on the teeth, forming a grainy coating that dulls and yellows your teeth. Worse, it contains even more bacteria, which secrete acids that will damage your teeth and lead to decay. Even with the most careful dental hygiene regimen, you probably have some amount of tartar in your mouth, compromising the health of your teeth.
The problem is compounded when tartar is positioned at or below the gumline. In those cases, the gums become irritated, and the vicious cycle of periodontal disease begins. Most adults have at least a minor amount of gum disease. In its early stages, this means red, swollen gums which bleed easily. But as periodontal disease develops, the symptoms worsen. Gums pull back from the teeth, forming pockets that encourage even more bacterial growth. Tooth decay, pain, bad breath, and detrimental health effects follow. If left alone too long, periodontal disease can result in massive deterioration of the bone and gums, which in turn causes tooth loss.
To stop periodontal disease before it develops that far, you have to get rid of the tartar on your teeth through a process called scaling. This can be performed by a dentist or hygienist. Specially shaped tools are used to gently scrape the tartar from your teeth without damaging your enamel, and your teeth are then polished to restore their smoothness. Scaling below the gumline is called root planning, and is often performed at the same time.
Dr. Seda offers scaling and root planning at our convenient Marin County location, serving patients from San Rafael, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Larkspur, Ross and San Anselmo. With our help, your teeth and gums can be free of tartar and all the complications it causes. We may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine to further inhibit the growth of bacteria in your mouth, and if necessary we’ll show you how to brush and floss your teeth effectively.
If you have noticed the signs of gum disease—even the earliest stages of gingivitis—call our office and schedule your appointment. A timely periodontal cleaning will prevent much more trouble and expense down the road. Don’t let periodontal disease destroy your health; catch it early and keep your smile intact.