Scaling & Root Planing
Quite often the first phase of periodontal treatment includes a thorough cleaning known as scaling or root planing, also known as a “deep cleaning.” The goal of scaling and root planing is to remove hard and soft deposits located below the gum line that cause gum disease.
What do the procedures entail?
Your treatment starts with a proper examination to allow a diagnosis of the scope and severity of your condition. Your examination will likely include dental x-rays, probing measurements of your gum tissues, a visual examination of the oral tissues, and photographs of your mouth.
Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, our team may recommend scaling and root planing. In most cases, a local anesthesia will be used during the procedure to prevent any root sensitivity or tenderness of the gum tissue during the treatment.
When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with specialized ultrasonic and hand instruments.
- Root Planing:
Root planing is performed in order to remove hard deposits, bacteria, and toxins from the root surface. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed, which promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
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Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, our team may place an antibiotic in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
When very deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for our team to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.
Benefits of Treatment
If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.