What Is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is a dental procedure used to treat those with periodontal disease.

Who needs scaling and planing?

Gum disease is common; about half the population of the US has it. You can get periodontal disease due to poor oral hygiene habits, diet, smoking, or may just be genetically predisposed to it. The disease starts out as gingivitis when bacteria causes an infection below the gumline. As it continues on, the gums begin to swell and recede away from the teeth, causing small pockets to form around the teeth where tartar and plaque can become trapped.

The disease is reversible early on, but if left untreated for too long, it can eventually lead to the loss of bone tissue and teeth.

If you have the early stages of periodontitis, a treatment known as scaling and root planing can help.

What does scaling and root planing entail?

The procedure is sometimes referred to as a “deep cleaning.” Much like how plaque and tarter are cleared away from surfaces of your teeth during an ordinary hygiene visit, this procedure involves removing them from below the gumline. As this cleaning involves the roots of your teeth, Dr. Dave, Dr. Mike or one of our hygienists will use a numbing treatment to prevent any discomfort.

It’s important to clean out all sources of infection, so great care will be taken, meticulously cleaning each affected tooth. The plaque buildup from each gum pocket will be removed, after which, the surface of the root will be smoothed, allowing the gums to reattach to the tooth.

After the cleaning is complete, you may be asked to use a special antiseptic mouthwash to keep the pockets clean while they heal. Be sure to schedule your follow-up visits so that we can monitor your progress and show you how to take care of your teeth at home so as to prevent a relapse.

Periodontal disease can lead to serious problems, so it’s vital to have it treated as soon as possible. If you have red or swollen gums, or your gums bleed when you brush and floss, call us to make an appointment with Dr. Mike or Dr. Dave to assess your condition.

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