Full Mouth Debridement (FMD)
What is it?

If you haven’t had a professional maintenance or cleaning visit for some time, you might have too much dense plaque and tartar (calculus) collected on your teeth. This can make it difficult for a dental health professional to examine your teeth, mouth, and gums.

Dental plaque is a slick substance that coats your teeth and tends to build up if you don’t brush or clean between your teeth daily. Calculus is plaque that has become stubbornly hard (calcified) and attached to various points on the surface of your teeth, especially near or below the gum line.

Once calculus has formed, a periodontist or highly skilled dentist or hygienist will have to remove it with a professional cleaning. Once plaque becomes calculus, it can cause significant gum and bone inflammation damaging this vital tissue that supports your teeth. Calculus also catches more plaque and causes it to build up further. This commonly leads to gum disease (gingivitis) and cavities over time.

Gingivitis occurs when the gum tissue becomes inflamed by periodontal pathogens accumulating on and around the teeth. Gingivitis most commonly results from poor oral hygiene. It can lead to halitosis (bad breath) as well as swollen and bleeding gums, especially during flossing or brushing. Gingivitis is commonly leads to Periodontitis.

Periodontitis occurs when the periodontal pathogens, plaque, and calculus lead to infection which allows the gum inflammation to spread to the tooth’s supporting bone. This infection process causes destruction of bone, ligaments, and commonly tooth structure. Periodontitis is an inflammatory driven process and is associated with many systemic medical issues like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and can even negatively impact pregnancy.

When these symptoms occur, you might be a good candidate for a Full Mouth Debridement (FMD).

Full Mouth Debridement (FMD) decreases biofilm, reduces inflammation of the gums and mouth, and in conjunction with dental X-rays (radiographs) allows for proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

Full Mouth Debridement is the most generalized thorough cleaning you can get from a dental professional. FMD is non-surgical and allows the periodontist to conduct a complete oral examination. FMD is commonly the first procedure a periodontist might take to remove severe plaque and calculus buildup prior to creating a definitive treatment plan.

Regular, positive dental health habits can reduce the need for having an FMD. Excessive plaque biofilm and calculus are the leading reasons for the procedure, and regular brushing and flossing will reduce risks.

What To Expect During a Full Mouth Debridement?

Your periodontist will usually use a local anesthetic (Novocaine) to numb certain spots in your mouth. The amount of plaque and calculus at or below the gum line will determine the extent of work. The periodontist will take your medical history into account when creating your treatment plan.

Your periodontist will remove the plaque and calculus on your teeth and at or below the gum line using metal and electric water scalers. These hand-held tools scrape and blast away the calculus from your teeth. After getting rid of the excess plaque and calculus, the periodontist will be able to observe the surface of your teeth properly.

You might experience mild swelling, inflamed gums, or sensitive teeth after the procedure. You will need to heal for several weeks prior to evaluation, which will be performed during your next periodontist appointment.

Your teeth will appear whiter and your gums should have a noticeable healthy and pink look once you have healed. These positive changes will be noticeable over a period of four to six weeks. You may need to use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums for a while after the procedure. Continue to practice good oral hygiene, brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing or cleaning between your teeth once daily.

The FMD procedure usually takes a bit longer than a regular cleaning–about 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes, it can be split up over several appointments, scheduled approximately 1 to 2 weeks apart. A second Full Mouth Debridement may be required and will involve removal of residual calculus from below the gum line.

A follow-up appointment will then be scheduled so the periodontist can fully inspect your teeth, gums, and mouth. At that time a routine maintenance cleaning schedule will be determined. As well, recommendations for any additional treatment, such as Scaling and Root Planning or Flap Access procedures, will be made. These procedures may be required in advanced cases to further remove areas of calculus trapped deep below the gum line.

Scaling and Root Planing can be completed using a local anesthetic (Novocaine). It allows for deeper access to calculus underneath the gum line and for smoothing of the roots of the affected teeth. It can be completed throughout the entire mouth or in one section at a time. It helps gum tissue reattach to the teeth and shrinks periodontal pockets where periodontal pathogens reside. Systemic antibiotics may also be used in severe cases.

When Should You Have a Consultation for a Full Mouth Debridement?

If you have not had a regular maintenance or cleaning in some time and feel as though you are experiencing excess plaque and calculus build up, contact Dr. Bonacci today and set up a consultation.

Most people will do well with a regular periodontal maintenance cleaning, but if he finds you need the more extensive procedure of a Full Mouth Debridement, you couldn’t be in better hands. Give his office a call and set up an appointment today!

Would you like to discuss your options regarding Full Mouth Debridement? Call us today to schedule a consult with Dr. Bonacci!