If you've developed symptoms of gum disease (bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, swollen gums), your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing to restore your oral health.
Gum disease is caused by plaque build-up on the teeth that hardens into tartar. Tartar can erode the gum line and damage the roots of your teeth..
By treating the root surfaces with scaling and root planing, your dentist can stop the progression of gum disease.
Here's what you need to know about dental scaling and root planing.
What is Dental Scaling and Root Planing?
Dental scaling and root planing, otherwise known as a deep cleaning, is a procedure that removes plaque and tartar from the teeth.
Dental scaling and root planing is performed by a dental professional to clean areas that can't be reached by brushing or flossing or even by a standard dental cleaning. Dental scaling involves scraping away tartar with a sharp tool called a scaler, and root planing involves smoothing out rough spots on the tooth root so that the gum can reattach itself to the tooth.
What's the difference between scaling and root planing? Are they the same thing?
Dental scaling removes plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. Root planing removes plaque, tartar, and any infected tissue from the roots of your teeth.
Why Do You Need Dental Scaling and Root Planing?
You probably won't need dental scaling and root planing if you maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, eating healthy foods, avoiding tobacco products, and seeing your dentist regularly. But if you develop gum disease, you may need deep cleaning treatment.
If pockets have formed between your gums and teeth or if your gums are receding, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing to help treat periodontal disease—an infection of the gums caused by the bacteria in plaque.
How are Scaling and Root Planing Performed?
A dentist or dental hygienist uses a hand-held instrument called a scaler or curette to scrape plaque and tartar from your teeth. The root will be planed—that is, the dentist may smooth rough spots on the root where germs gather to allow your gums to reattach to healthy tooth structure.
During the procedure, your dentist may numb the area around your teeth with a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable. If you have deep pockets between your teeth and gums, you may need more than one cleaning for the gum tissue to heal.
What Are the Benefits?
Scaling and root planing have several benefits for patients with periodontal disease, including:
- Reducing swelling and bleeding of gums
- Preventing further damage to teeth
- Healing damage that has already occurred
- Relieving pain
How Often Do You Need Scaling and Root Planing for Periodontal Disease?
Treatment for periodontal disease is not a one-time procedure; it requires several visits to the dentist and diligent oral care at home.
Your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing at least twice a year or more, depending on the stage of your gum disease. Certain patients are seen every three to four months, contingent upon general health and dental history. Along with your dental visits, it’s critical to practice good oral hygiene at home to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Chagrin Falls Dental Offers Scaling and Root Planing
Gum disease is one of the leading causes of poor oral health and impacts all major organ systems, including your heart and lungs. If you’ve developed symptoms of gum disease, you may need scaling and root planing to restore your oral health.