Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing or a “deep cleaning” is a non-surgical periodontal therapy that removes accessible calculus (tartar), bacterial toxins, and etiological agents that cause inflammation to the gum tissue and surrounding bone. The goal of scaling and root planing is to eliminate disease and return the supporting structures of the teeth to a healthy state that can be maintained by home care and professional maintenance appointments at our office.
The procedure may be done in one or two appointments depending on your doctor’s judgment and the severity of the disease process. Scaling and root planing begins by first administering a local anesthetic to numb the teeth and the surrounding gum tissues so that the patient is comfortable during the procedure. Special dental instruments are used to remove the calculus (tartar) and plaque from above and below the gumline. In many cases, a subgingival irrigation can be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.
During or following scaling and root planing therapy, your dentist may recommend the gum pockets are treated with an antibiotic therapy. This will soothe irritation and promote a faster healing response after therapy.
Your dentist may recommend that the patient returns about 4-6 weeks after the initial therapy. During this appointment, your dental team will thoroughly examine the gums to see how well the pockets have healed. If the gum pockets have not healed to the expected results, additional and more intensive treatments may be indicated.
Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing:
- Systemic Disease Prevention - The oral bacteria that is found in periodontal infections can travel via the blood stream to other parts of the body. Research has shown that lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, low birth weight babies and other health concerns have been linked to periodontal disease.
- Reduce Inflammation and Bleeding - Reducing the amount of inflammation in the oral cavity is imperative for optimal oral health. When gum pockets are inflamed and exceed 3mm, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease because they tend to house more bacteria. The body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue, which eventually leads to tooth loss.
- Better Breath - One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis or bad breath. Scaling and root planing helps alleviate persistent bad odor in the mouth by removing food particles and bacteria.
- Cosmetic Effects - As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of scaling and root planing. Teeth that once appeared stained can become shades lighter after scaling and root planing!
If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.