8218 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 415
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 656-1588

Periodontal Cleaning


Gum disease affects Patients of all ages - even the brightest of smiles may be at risk.

Periodontitis, also known as "gum disease" - a bacterial infection of the gums and bones that hold teeth in place. If left untreated, Periodontal disease can cause both tooth loss and unsightly changes to the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. In its early stages, many cases of gum disease can be reversed by routine hygiene appointments and properly followed oral hygiene. Scaling and root planing is an advanced version of gum cleaning, involving a deep cleaning under the gums and planing the root surface to remove the destructive bacteria. This will assist the body to eliminate the inflammation and/or infection and promote healing. Following treatment, Dr. Malcomson will continue to monitor and evaluate whether a referral to a local Periodontist is necessary.

Dental deep cleaning and a Periodontal maintenance is necessary for some Patients. If you feel this might the case with your gums and teeth, please ask Dr. Malcomson during your scheduled dental appointment.

Gingivitis (gum inflammation) and gingival recession usually precedes periodontitis (gum disease). However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.  In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causing the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.

  Watch a short Patient education video on Gingival Recession

Gum Disease is diagnosed when probing reveals one or more periodontal pockets, or areas where the gum has pulled away from the tooth, 4 millimeters deep or greater. In some cases, only one quadrant, or quarter of the mouth, may be affected. In other cases, the affected areas may span throughout the entire mouth. Gum disease can be caused by a lack of consistent, proper brushing and flossing, and long periods of time between regular professional dental cleanings, as well as other known conditions; such as diabetes. Women who are pregnant may also experience temporary bouts of inflammation and gum disease which should be monitored by your Dentist. In most cases, gum disease can be treated by Dr. Malcomson using a treatment called scaling and root planing, which is also known as a deep cleaning. However, a referral to a Periodontal specialist may be required to treat more advanced cases.

Scaling & Root Planing (Deep Cleaning) vs. Regular Cleaning is very different from a regular dental cleaning. A regular dental cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth and between teeth above the gum line. During a regular cleaning, the teeth are also polished. A dental deep cleaning or scaling and root planing, is needed in order to remove bacteria, calculus (tartar), and debris that has collected under the gum line. The presence of calculus under the gumline creates a safe haven for bacteria to collect, and cannot be removed by brushing, flossing or with a regular dental cleaning. The presence of this bacteria causes an immune response from the body. This immune response results in inflammation, to fight the bacterial infection. If left untreated, the infection and inflammation will continue and progress further under the gum line, resulting in loose teeth and bone loss, and ultimately may cause the loss of one or more teeth in that area.

Scaling & Root Planing Procedure can be performed on one or two quadrants (quarter) of the mouth at a time, or the entire mouth can be treated in one visit, dependent on the diagnosis and recommendation of your Dentist. During your appointment with Dr. Malcomson or a Hygienist, the particular quadrant being treated may be numbed. Next, the dental professional will carefully work under the gum line, to clean away the calculus and debris. After this, Dr. Malcomson will carefully shape, or plane, the root of the tooth, to remove places where bacteria can collect in the future. Dr. Malcomson will offer recommendations and demonstrate proper brushing and flossing technique.

  Watch a short Patient education video on Scaling & Root Planing

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