Calming your fears
Often a fear of the dentist causes patients to go long periods between appointments. For patients who have fears or are uncomfortable with seeing the dentist, we offer several forms of sedation dentistry to help make you more comfortable.
Patients who haven’t regularly seen the dentist may have an excessive amount of plaque and calculus build-up on their teeth. If the plaque and calculus are so heavy that we can’t properly examine your teeth and gums, we may recommend a full mouth debridement. Debridement is the removal of heavy amounts of plaque and calculus from your teeth and must be completed before any additional procedures.
Debridement is similar to a regular cleaning in that our hygienists remove the plaque and calculus with an ultrasonic water or metal scaler. The debridement appointment typically takes longer than a regular cleaning visit because the calculus can be much more difficult to remove if there were infrequent cleanings. The hygienist may administer numbing medication or local anesthetic if you are very sensitive during the appointment. Your gums may possibly bleed during the procedure if they are inflamed, and may feel sore afterward. Your teeth also may be sensitive to temperature after debridement because root surfaces that were covered by calculus are now exposed to the oral environment.
How often will I need a debridement?
A debridement is not a procedure a patient will receive regularly. Generally, you will only need a debridement one time to return you to a healthy foundation of regular brushing, flossing and cleanings.
What happens next?
After full mouth debridement, our hygienists will schedule you for your next appointment, which may be a prophylaxis (cleaning) or a periodontal maintenance. The next appointment is generally 4-6 weeks after your debridement. This gives your gums a chance to heal and tighten up against the tooth structure again. Next, our hygienists will review how to properly care for your teeth at home, including brushing two times a day for two minutes each and flossing once a day.
Sometimes, debridement is the first step in periodontal treatment. If you have Chronic Periodontitis, or periodontal disease, which includes alveolar bone loss and gingival inflammation, additional treatments will be recommended. The goal of this additional treatment is to remove bacteria from unhealthy gums, change the environment of the mouth, and prevent further bone loss. These periodontal treatments include scaling and root planing, Arestin application, and periodontic surgery.