What is Scaling and Root Planning?

by | Feb 16, 2019 | Dentistry

Plaque is a bacterium that causes cavities and gum disease. It hardens into tartar and adheres to tooth enamel and below the gum line. Daily brushing and flossing can remove plaque, but professional cleaning is needed to remove built-up tartar to prevent gum disease from occurring.

Routine hygiene cleanings can eradicate mild gum disease (gingivitis), but if you have severe gum disease (periodontitis), you may be recommended for a scaling and root planing.

Periodontal Disease Symptoms

Periodontal disease symptoms in Birmingham, MI can be treated non-surgically using the scaling and root planing procedure, also known as a deep cleaning. Typical symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Mouth pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Blood or discomfort when flossing
  • Constant bad breath
  • Mouth sores

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling cleans plaque and tartar above and below the gum line and all the way down to the pocket. A periodontist uses a dental scaler and a curette to remove plaque from the teeth manually.

Alternatively, your periodontist may use an ultrasonic instrument to scale your teeth. The vibrating metal tip is combined with a cool water spray to chip and wash away tartar.

Dental scaling is typically followed by a root planing. Root planing smoothes the surface of the roots so the gums can reattach properly. Your roots are cleaned, planed, scraped, and disinfected.

This procedure can take several appointments, with each appointment addressing a different area of the mouth.

Does Scaling and Root Planing Hurt?

The procedure can be a little uncomfortable, especially if you have sensitive gums. Your periodontist will numb the area using a local anesthetic but discuss all your options for desensitizing the area if you are especially concerned about discomfort or are a nervous patient.

After Scaling and Root Planing Visit

When the scaling and root planing is complete, the periodontist may give you an antibiotic medication or an antibiotical mouthwash to prevent infection and recommend a desensitizing toothpaste to help ease discomfort.

After a deep cleaning, you may experience teeth sensitivity for a few days as well as discomfort. Your gums may be swollen, feel tender, and bleed.
Your periodontist will schedule a follow-up visit to measure how deep the pockets are and assess how the gums have healed.

It is critical to practice good oral hygiene after this procedure. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash are all ways you can do this in your own home. Abstaining from sugary foods, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco also help to keep your teeth and gums in good health.

Your periodontist may also recommend more frequent dental cleanings with your hygienist to ensure your best oral health and to prevent gum disease from reoccurring.

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