Periodontal Care

Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal care scaling and root planing is needed when patient’s gums, bones, and surrounding tissues become damaged due to periodontal disease (periodontitis) to help prevent gum disease. Gum disease affects 47.2% of all adults over the age of 30 in the United States which is why periodontal scaling and root planning also known as deep cleaning is needed.

Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but if they aren’t cleaned well, the bacteria in plaque can cause your gums to become inflamed. Over time, this plaque hardens into tartar, and bacteria spread to the gums. This process leads to gingivitis (early gum disease) and eventually periodontitis. Scaling and root planing is a needed to remove the plaque and calculus (tartar) stuck above and below the gum line to improve your oral health.

Plaque and calculus buildup occurs in areas that cannot be reached by brushing, flossing, or even regular dental cleaning. Periodontal scaling and root planning may be recommended to remove the harmful bacteria and hard deposits called calculus build up on your teeth above and below your gums, releasing harmful toxins that can lead to gingivitis, or inflamed and bleeding gums. If these symptoms are not treated, they may lead to periodontitis and bone loss.

Who is a Periodontal Care Candidate

Scaling and Root Planing

Patients with mild to moderate gum disease should have this periodontal care cleaning to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. The periodontal care cleaning provides you with a cleaner, healthier mouth. Periodontal care scaling and root planing is often done in two consecutive appointments, with one whole side of your mouth being treated at a time. To help prevent gum disease we perform a gum health check to measure the size of the pockets around your teeth to determine if you are developing or have gum disease.

What Happens During

Scaling and Root Planing

Our hygienist will perform the periodontal care scaling and root planing procedure with an ultrasonic cleaner, which uses high-frequency vibration to separate the calculus from the tooth. This procedure is for advanced periodontal cases and may require multiple appointments to complete. Removing the deposits can halt the spread of periodontitis. In some cases, this may bring your gums back to health and prevents the progression of the disease itself.

Periodontal care scaling and root planing is performed in two consecutive appointments. The first appointment is the subgingival scaling, which is when the dental hygienist removes plaque and calculus beneath the gums, between the gums, and on the base of teeth crowns. Scaling is either done manually or with an ultrasonic instrument to loosen plaque and remove hardened tartar.

The second appointment is for root planing which is an attempt to smooth rough surfaces and remove any subgingival bacteria. During the procedure, the hygienist cleans deep below the gums to remove plaque and tartar buildup on the roots of teeth where the bones are affected by the infection. Planing involves the complete removal of cementum, which is the calcified film that covers a tooth’s root.

The periodontal care procedure may also involve the removal of a small superficial layer of dentin, which is the second layer of teeth that develops below the enamel.

The gingival pockets are carefully cleaned out to remove any plaque, tartar and debris. The roots of the teeth are then carefully smoothed, which will help the gums to heal properly. You can expect some pain and tenderness following the procedure, but this will subside in just one or two days and can be alleviated with warm salt water rinses and over-the-counter pain medication as needed.

Periodontal care scaling and root planing treatment may take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic.  If you would like to schedule an appointment to come into our office for a scaling and root planing, call us today to speak with one of our friendly staff members.


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