What Is 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 maintained by home care and professional maintenance appointments at our dental office.
How Does the Procedure Work?
The procedure may be done in one or two appointments, depending on your dentist’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 to be comfortable during the procedure.
Special dental instruments are used to remove the calculus (tartar) and plaque above and below the gumline. In many cases, 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 that the gum pockets be treated with antibiotic therapy. This will soothe irritation and promote a faster healing response after treatment.
Your dentist may recommend that the patient returns about 4-6 weeks after the initial therapy. Your dental team will thoroughly examine the gums during this appointment to see how well the pockets have healed. Additional and more intensive treatments may indicate if the gum pockets have not recovered to the expected results.
Benefits of Scaling & Root Planing
- Systemic Disease Prevention. The oral bacteria found in periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream 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 house more bacteria. The body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria destroys 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 help alleviate persistent foul odor in the mouth by removing food particles and bacteria.
- Cosmetic Benefits. As a 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!