Periodontal scaling and root planing are procedures used to treat periodontal disease. Also called a “deep cleaning,” this procedure involves the careful removal of hardened plaque near the gumline where harmful bacteria grow and cause gum inflammation and bone loss. “Scaling” removes the tartar above the gumline and “root planing” smoothens the tooth below the gumline to stop the harmful bacteria from attaching to the rough surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a periodontal scaling and root planing?
You may need scaling and root planing if you are suffering from mild to moderate periodontal disease. If you are experiencing inflamed or receding gums, chronic bad breath, or loose teeth, you may have periodontal disease. Only your dentist can give you a definitive diagnosis. If your periodontal disease is advanced, you may require a more extensive procedure, like grafting or surgery. The best way to avoid this progression is to maintain a strict schedule of professional dental cleanings to minimize the amount of tartar that accumulates near the gumline.
What should I expect during a scaling and root planing?
You’ll first be made comfortable – perhaps using a topical or local anesthetic. You should feel little or no discomfort other than the sensation of the cleaning tools removing the tartar. The time the procedure will take will vary by the extent of the disease and the areas in the mouth in which it is located. If your periodontal disease is widespread, you may need to spread out your treatment into multiple visits.
Will I need to follow any special post-treatment care instructions?
Most patients experience little or no discomfort after scaling and root planing, but gum irritation may occur. Warm salt water rinses will alleviate some of this discomfort. Your dentist and hygienist will recommend that you eliminate the habits that could have contributed to the development of periodontal disease, such as smoking, neglecting flossing, etc.