Gum Disease

What is scaling and planing?

happy woman smiling looking beautiful and elegant Has your dentist recommended a scaling and planing? It might sound like some kind of dental torture, but it’s not really. It’s actually a procedure that can protect your teeth from damage and keep your mouth healthy. Read on for more information on scaling and planing and why it’s nothing to be scared of!

Do you need a scaling and planing?

This procedure, which is actually very common, is nonsurgical and is simply a deep cleaning underneath the gums. As the name implies, there are two steps to this procedure, which are typically done together. The “scaling” involves cleaning the portion of the tooth that is deep beneath the gums, while the “planing” is done to smooth out any rough patches on the tooth root, which can help to prevent bacteria and plaque from adhering.

Scaling and planing may be recommended if plaque (that sticky film that is filled with bacteria) has had a chance to build up on your teeth. When it gets really bad, the gums become inflamed and irritated and eventually start to pull away from the teeth. This forms “pockets,” which traps even more plaque and bacteria. This can lead to gum disease and eventually even tooth loss.

All of this plaque build-up is very difficult to remove with brushing and flossing, and over time it gets to be so bad that even a regular cleaning at your dentist’s office can’t even remove it. After a scaling and planing procedure, the gums will be healthy once again and they will start to reattach to the teeth.

It may take more than one visit to really get your teeth clean with a scaling and planing procedure, and it may leave your gums sensitive, swollen, and tender for about a week afterward.

Scaling and planing really isn’t dental torture. It is an important procedure that can help to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy. Make an appointment with the staff at the Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center if you are having tooth pain or if you need help with your oral health. Call (610) 272-6949 for an appointment today!

What is that spot on my gums?

woman suffering from tooth sensitivity At the very least it can be a surprise when you see it – at the worst it can cause you to panic just a bit. One day you are flossing or brushing, and you happen to notice an ugly black spot on your gums. But is this spot something you should be concerned about? Should you rush to your dentist or can it wait until your next cleaning appointment?

Should you be worried?

The answer is, most likely, “no.” That spot on your gums is most likely what is known as an “amalgam tattoo,” and they are fairly common. They might be black, grey, or a bluish color. They are found in patients who had metal amalgam fillings in the past – cavity fillings made up of a combination of metals, such as tin, mercury, silver, and copper (nowadays, composite materials and ceramics are used for fillings). These fillings may have been placed a long time ago; over time they can sink down into the gums or even the lips or cheeks. They can be pushed out of the tooth and into tissue when your dentist removes this amalgam filling or when tooth decay is being removed.

Although the odds are pretty good that your spot is an amalgam tattoo, you should also know that these can look very similar to mucosal melanomas, which are rare but deadly. Mucosal melanomas are typically found in people who have used tobacco for many years, on the palate or the inner part of the sinus cavity. Besides the spot in your mouth, other signs of a mucosal melanoma are that your mouth feels painful and swollen and your dentures don’t fit as well as they used to. If you think you might have a mucosal melanoma, you should see your dentist or doctor right away.

If you notice a spot on your gums, it’s probably nothing to worry about – but do mention it to your dentist if you are concerned. Dr. Bentz and the staff at the Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center can help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy and problem-free. Call (610) 272-6949 for an appointment today!


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