1) What is RPC?
RPC is what most people refer to as "deep cleaning," and what we in the dental office call "initial periodontal therapy." RPC is an acronym that stands for Root Planning & Curettage. It involves the removal of tartar buildup that exists below the gum line.
2) Why might I need RPC?
RPC is the type of therapy required when the doctor determines that there has been bone loss as a result of periodontal disease. The presence of tartar buildup below the gumline is a major factor in determining the need for RPC, especially when that tartar has been left untreated for an extended period of time. Risk factors that increase a person's likelihood for this type of condition include:
Chronic infection of the tooth and gums
3) What is involved in RPC treatment?
RPC is sometimes referred to as a "deep cleaning." This refers to the perio pocket being 4mm or greater in depth. Local anesthetic is often used during the RPC appointment because the cleaning is "deep" below the gum line. When performing this type of therapy, the gum tissue is irritated by the instruments used to clean the root surfaces. The root surfaces can also become more temperature sensitive following initial therapy due to removal of the tartar "blanket" that had been covering the root surface of the tooth.
4) Is RPC completed in one appointment?
It will generally take two to four separate appointments to complete initial periodontal therapy, especially if local anesthetic is used. The length and total number of appointments will depend on the severity of the periodontal condition, whether or not local anesthetic will be used, and whether or not a sedation technique will be employed.
5) What happens after the initial RPC therapy?
The bone loss you have experienced as a result of periodontal disease is not reversed by the cleaning. Our goal moving forward is to prevent further harm to the bone and gum tissue supporting the teeth. We are most often successful in helping patients manage their periodontal health when: We identify a person's risk factors early, the person is willing to make changes to their home care and modify their risk factors (i.e. smoking cessation), and a periodontal maintenance schedule is established. frequent follow-up care is necessary to ensure that the periodontal condition does not worsen. If the condition worsens for any reason, we may consider referral to a periodontist, which is a dental specialist who treats advanced periodontal disease.