Healthy gum tissue fits tightly around each tooth. When bacterial plaque and tartar accumulate around and under the gums – causing inflammation – periodontal disease develops. Scaling, also known as deep cleaning, removes plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gum line. Root-planing smooths out teeth roots and helps gums to reattach to the teeth. Both procedures are integral in ensuring healthy gums.
When You Need It
Gum disease develops when a sticky film of bacteria called plaque forms on your teeth and gums. If not cleaned well the bacterium in plaque causes gums to become inflamed. When this happens, your gums pull away from your teeth and form spaces called pockets. Plaque trapped in these pockets is not removed with regular brushing. Gum disease leads to bone and tooth loss. Left untreated, pockets of infection develop between your gums and teeth; scaling and root-planing is needed.
Does Scaling and Root-Planing Work?
If you have periodontal disease, you know how difficult it is to deal with, how much time and money you’ve spent on treatments. Take heart. Teeth scaling and root-planing is considered the “gold standard” treatment for chronic periodontal disease. A 2015 review of 72 journal articles found that the procedures improved pocket gaps between teeth and gums by 5 millimeters on average – a significant improvement. There is no doubt that scaling and root-planing as needed keeps the reins on periodontal disease and tooth loss.
What Happens if You Don’t?
Not to scare you, but if you don’t deal with periodontal disease urgently, you are in for a world of trouble.
- bone and tissue loss
- tooth loss
- loose teeth
- moving teeth
All of them produce painful chewing and reduce your diet to soft food.
- An anesthetic may or may not be used. Dentists or hygienists will usually ask if you prefer a local or general anesthetic.
- The dentist will first scrape away the plaque from your teeth and in any large pockets that have developed between your teeth and gums.
- Next, the dentist smooths the tooth roots using a scaling tool. This action helps your gums to reattach to your teeth. (Pockets, swollen and infected, pull away from the teeth and will not reattach unless foreign matter, plague and tarter, are removed.)
Is Scaling and Root-Planing Painful?
The procedure as described does not sound very pleasant. Your dentist will offer you either a local anesthetic or complete ‘knock out,’ whichever you prefer. If your dentist or periodontist does not offer the preferred anesthetic, you may wish to use another professional who does. After- surgery discomfort responds to pain medications prescribed by the dentist.
Depending upon the degree of plaque and tartar deposits, additional teeth scaling, and root-planing may be needed. Your dentist will likely recommend that you return for a follow-up appointment to be sure the procedure worked and that you haven’t developed complications like infection.
Think Oral Implants and Periodontics, in Paoli, PA, specializes in this procedure. If you are experiencing gum problems, you may be a candidate for scaling and root-planing. Call us now for a consultation. Think Oral Implants and Periodontics, office located at 250 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 215, Paoli, PA 19301 (610) 550-3333.