Scaling and Root Planing
During your daily brushing and flossing, you may not be cleaning your teeth as well as you'd like. This is one reason why we clean your teeth at regular dental exams. Standard teeth cleaning aims to remove plaque and bacteria from your gum line. This prevents them from hardening and forming tartar or calculus. For some patients (like those with gingivitis or periodontal disease), a standard cleaning isn't enough. In those cases, we recommend scaling and root planning for a more comprehensive cleaning process.
Periodontal disease causes plaque buildup between the teeth and gums. This creates periodontal pockets at the gum line. Reducing the amount of plaque present in the mouth will help alleviate the pockets and control the effects of gum disease. Scaling and root planning are the first steps of periodontal treatment. If they are not sufficient, gum surgery may need to follow to remove infected tissue. Scaling and root planing are commonly accompanied by dental anesthesia to prevent patients from experiencing discomfort.
Scaling is something you're familiar with, whether you know it or not - your teeth are scaled at every dental exam. This is the practice of removing plaque from tooth surfaces. It is accomplished with a dental scaler, which may be ultrasonic to produce a heightened effect. The vibrations of ultrasonic scalers break up bacterial membraces to help disperse plaque.
Root planing tackles plaque below the gum line, especially that in periodontal pockets. Planning will remove that plaque to allow the gums a chance to begin healing. The tooth root surfaces will also be smoothed, to prevent plaque from adhering as easily. Root planing can be invasive, and anesthesia (and sedation, if the patient prefers) will be provided to ensure patient comfort.
If you have any questions and scaling and root planing before your periodontal treatment, get in touch to get answers.