Scaling and Root Planing
A healthy mouth starts with brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. However, sometimes, despite our best efforts, plaque and tartar can accumulate on teeth and below the gum line, leading to gum disease and other oral health issues. To solve this problem, a more intensive treatment known as scaling and root planing is often recommended. This procedure can help improve gum health, reduce inflammation, and ultimately restore the health of your entire mouth. A dental hygienist or periodontist uses special instruments to perform the procedure, and Summercrest Dental is no different. We utilize state-of-the-art technology and techniques to provide our patients with excellent care.
What is Scaling and Root Planing?
Scaling and root planing, or deep cleaning, is a non-surgical, periodontal (gum) disease restorative dentistry procedure to remove plaque and tartar below the gum line, smoothing rough areas on the tooth's root surfaces. Tooth scaling removes tartar from the tooth surfaces above and below the gum line. On the other hand, root planing involves removing plaque, bacteria, and irritation-causing deposits from deep within the pockets between your teeth and gums.
Why Are Scaling and Root Planing Important?
Scaling and root planing are necessary when regular dental cleanings aren't sufficient to address the extent of plaque and tartar buildup. These substances harbor bacteria that can damage the gums and surrounding tissues if left untreated. By removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smoothing the root surfaces of the teeth, scaling and root planing can help halt the progression of periodontal disease, reduce inflammation, and promote healing and reattachment of the gums to the teeth. Scaling and root planing also help restore the health of the supporting structures of the teeth. By removing the bacterial deposits and smoothing out the rough root surfaces, the gums can reattach to the teeth more securely. This prevents the progression of gum disease and reduces the risk of tooth loss.
What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing Treatment?
During deep teeth cleaning procedures, our dentist will use specialized instruments to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. However, before the instruments are used, the area will be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort or pain. You'll be awake for the procedures, which usually take one to four hours, depending on the extent of the buildup. The scaling process involves using an ultrasonic scaler. This device breaks up tartar and plaque with its vibrating metal tip while simultaneously flushing away the debris with a water spray. The dentist may also use a manual scaler and scraping device to remove any small pieces of tartar that remain. Once the tartar has been removed, the dentist will perform root planing, which involves smoothing out any rough areas on the root surfaces of your teeth just below the gum line. The dentist gently scrapes the bacteria and irritants from the pockets between your teeth and gums. They then use the scalar and cutter, similar tools used in tooth scaling to chip tartar from the tooth's root. The goal of root planing is to promote the reattachment of the gums to the teeth and reduce the depth of the periodontal pockets. An antibiotic medication may be injected directly into gum pockets to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
How Long Does Scaling and Root Planing Take?
The length of a scaling and root planing treatment will depend on the severity of the patient's gum disease and the amount of plaque and tartar buildup present. In some cases, the treatment may be completed in four appointments, while more extensive cases may require multiple visits to the dentist. It's essential to note that scaling and root planing are part of a comprehensive periodontal treatment plan. The dentist will likely recommend additional treatments, such as antibiotic therapy or ongoing periodontal maintenance cleanings, to ensure the continued health of your teeth and gums. If you suspect you may need scaling and root planing, consult with our dentist at Summercrest Dental to determine the best course of action for maintaining your oral health. Book an appointment today at (503) 649-7701 to get the care you need.