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Debridement

What Is It?
What It's Used For
Preparation
How It's Done
Follow-Up
Risks
When To Call a Professional

What Is It?
Debridement is the removal of large amounts of plaque and tartar from your teeth.

What It's Used For
Debridement is done on people who have heavy plaque and tartar (calculus) build-up. This usually happens because they haven't visited a dentist for a long time. If the plaque and tartar are really heavy, your dentist may not be able to see the teeth to examine them. First, the plaque and tartar must be removed through debridement.

Preparation
Some people who are very sensitive to pain might need a numbing liquid applied to their gums or an injection of a local anesthetic for this procedure. Often, people who avoid the dentist have some form of dental phobia. Some form of anesthesia may help to make them more comfortable.

How It's Done
Debridement is done with hand instruments or an ultrasonic device. This tool uses water and high-frequency vibrations to dislodge plaque and tartar from the teeth.

Follow-Up
Debridement is usually the first phase of periodontal treatment. Next, your dentist will examine your teeth and recommend treatment. This may involve scaling and root planing or gum surgery.

Risks
If your gums are inflamed, they will bleed during the procedure and they may feel sore after that. In some cases, your teeth may be sensitive to temperature (hot and/or cold) after debridement. This occurs when the removal of plaque and tartar exposes tooth roots.

When To Call a Professional
Call your dentist if:

  • You have bleeding that doesn't stop
  • You have excessive swelling or discharge from the area
  • Lymph nodes beneath your lower jaw or in your neck become swollen

©2002-2013 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved.

1/30/2012

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