Is Scaling Considered An Emergency Dental Procedure? How Else Do They Treat Gum Disease?

You have noticed your gums have gotten swollen and appear to be flaming red. Your gums might ache or you could have no pain at all. Your dentist tells you you have gum disease and it needs to be treated using a technique known as scaling and root planing. Believe it or not, these are actual emergency procedures to prevent any further damage.

Gum Disease Can Affect Your Health

It is well known that gum disease does affect your health, but many people do not realize the full extent your mouth's health can have on you. Gum disease can cause bone loss, heart problems and tooth loss. It is considered an emergency situation if you find that your health begins to suffer and you feel lethargic or ill. At this point, it is time to seek out professional help.

How Does Scaling and Root Planing Help?

Scaling helps to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gum line. Plaque is created by an excess of bacteria left in the mouth after brushing or by inadequate brushing and flossing. Over time this bacteria will begin to destroy the dentin in the teeth making them weak and sometimes brittle. The bacteria will then make its way underneath the gum line and this is where bone will pull away from the gums and in the worst case scenario, you can lose your teeth once they become loose.

It is also possible, those with compromised immune systems may experience an onset of illness or heart problems due to the excess bacteria.

Gum planing helps to remove tartar and plaque from underneath the gums themselves. This procedure is typically done while the gums are numbed while the dentist uses a tool to scrape out the tartar that a toothbrush can't reach.


In some cases, gum disease is also treated with medications, especially those where the patient is experiencing pain or feeling unwell. The medication helps to treat the infection while other treatments take place. This two-pronged approach will help the gums repair themselves faster and hopefully help to prevent any further damage from occurring.

These medications can range from prescription antimicrobial mouthwash, antiseptic chip and antibiotic gel, to enzyme suppressants and oral antibiotics. The type of medication used will depend on the severity of the infection and damage already caused by the gum disease.

Surgical Treatments

As a last resort, surgical treatments might be applied to correct any damage that has occurred. For example, flap surgery might be necessary for persistent inflammation and deep pockets caused by the teeth receding. There are also bone and tissue grafts to help promote bone growth and tissue renewal. Check your local listings for an emergency dentist near you.