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Scaling And Root Planing

When you visit a dentist for a teeth cleaning, you have experienced scaling of the gumline and teeth to remove plaque, tartar, and stains. This procedure is done to ensure proper oral health of the gums and teeth. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease also known as gum disease, the periodontist may suggest a more indepth cleaning called scaling and root planing.

When Should I Get Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is recommended as a non-surgical procedure to prevent periodontal disease. This treatment is known as a deep cleaning and is this procedure is used to treat chronic periodontitis.

Healthy gum tissue should be tightly fitted around each tooth, the measurement from the top of the gumline to where the tooth attaches should be 1mm-3mm in depth. When tartar and bacterial plaque accumulate under the gum tissues, periodontal disease can form and cause deeper pockets to form.

Advanced signs of periodontal disease:

  • Tartar buildup
  • Bad breath
  • 4mm or more pocket depths

Your dentist will recommend scaling and root planing treatment to care for gum disease. This procedure is provided by a dental hygienist or dentist, and can take more than multiple sessions to complete the treatment and sometimes a local anesthetic is used to minimize discomfort. During the procedure the dentist or dental hygienist will scale bacteria, tartar and plaque from you root surfaces and teeth, then root planing smoothes the areas around your root’s surfaces.

After Scaling and Root Planing

During a follow-up consultation, the dentist will check on the status of your gums and pockets. Majority of the time your swollen and red gums will become pink and firm again, pockets will become smaller and bleeding will be reduced. If your gums still have problems after scaling and planing you may require a surgical procedure to stop gum disease.

Periodontal Up Keep

After your periodontist has treated periodontal disease , your dentist may recommend more scheduled maintenance. These extra appointments will consist of teeth cleaning and examination of your gum tissue to ensure that gum disease doesn’t come back.

Scaling and Root Planing FAQ

Q. When is scaling and root planing necessary?

A. This procedure is used to treat advanced stages of gum disease.

Q. What is gum disease?

A. When tartar and plaque infect your gums, gum disease occurs. 

Q. What is gingivitis?

A. Gingivitis is when you have red and swollen gums.

Q. What is periodontitis?

A. An advanced stage of gum disease when tissue becomes damaged and gums gradually pull away from the teeth.

Q. What is tartar?

A. It is when plaque hardens and cannot be dislodged by brushing.

Q. Is scaling and root planing painful?

A. You will experience some discomfort and sensitivity from the procedure. The dentist may inject a local anesthetic during the treatment.

Q. Does my insurance cover periodontal treatments?

A. Checking with your dental provider is the only way to determine how much is covered under your insurance plan.