Dentists conduct root planing and scaling procedures to treat cases of gum disease before it can do significant damage to your oral health. Take a few minutes to learn why scaling and root planing is such an effective dental treatment.
What is Scaling and Root Planing?
Scaling and root planing is essentially the deep cleaning of the area below the gum line to combat gum disease. Your dentist may recommend the procedure if your mouth shows early indications of gum disease.
What to Expect
Your dentist or dental hygienist may perform the cleaning. Depending on the condition of your mouth, it may take multiple visits to the dentist office for the procedure to be completed. During the scaling part of the cleaning, all of the traces of tartar, plaque, and bacterial toxins will be scaled from surfaces of your teeth and their roots. During the root planing portion of the procedure, the rough areas on the roots’ surfaces will be carefully smoothed away to make it more difficult for plaque, tartar, and bacteria to attach themselves beneath the gum line. This also allows the gums to reattach to the roots more firmly.
Is Root Planing Necessary?
Gums that are healthy will fit snugly around your teeth. However, if substances like bacteria, plaque and tartar are allowed to accumulate under and around your gums, they can damage the tissues supporting your teeth, creating pockets around your teeth and an environment where gum disease can develop.
Scaling and root planing is the most effective non-surgical procedure a dentist can use to treat gum disease. If the disease is detected while it is in its early stages and has not yet damaged the structures below the gum line, a simple professional cleaning will suffice. However, if the pockets between your teeth and gums have grown too deep, a scaling and root planing will be necessary. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the deep cleaning is particularly useful to patients who suffer from chronic periodontitis, or gum disease that has advanced past the gingivitis stage.
Your dentist may recommend that you undergo a scaling and root planing if either of the following conditions exists:
- Your gums have begun to pull away from the teeth.
- There is tartar present on the roots of your teeth.
Scaling and Root Planing Before And After
You will see and feel a marked difference in the conditions of your gums after you have undergone the procedure. The area that was treated may be sore to the touch for almost a week. Depending on how extensive the treatment was and the location in the mouth where the procedure was conducted, you may also experience bleeding, swelling and discomfort.
During a follow-up visit, your dentist will examine your gums to determine whether they are healing as they should be and will evaluate the condition of the pockets near the roots. If the pockets are getting smaller and the gum tissue has returned to pinkish color is adhering firmly to the roots of your teeth, no additional treatment may be necessary.