Scaling and Root Planing
What is scaling and root planing
Cleaning (or scaling) and root planing is a non-surgical procedure done to prevent and treat gum disease. Professional dental hygiene cleanings help to remove build up that can occur under your gums even with daily brushing and flossing. This helps to reduce redness, bleeding and inflammation of the gums caused by the living bacteria in plaque and tartar. In simpler terms, it is a deeper cleaning.Regular visits for teeth cleaning provide an additional level of preventative care on top of brushing and flossing at home, that helps to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
When is it needed/Risks of not getting it done
Without regular hygiene appointments, periodontal disease can develop. Periodontal disease usually starts with gingivitis or red, inflamed and bleeding gums, but can progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is the loss of bone from bacteria eating away at your teeth’s supporting structures, underneath your gums. The loss of any supporting structures around your teeth can lead to bad breath, poor function and mobility of your teeth and mouth and can eventually lead to the loss of your teeth.
Periodontal disease has been associated with the development of several diseases. For a long time, it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other diseases in the body. However, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal disease, but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
How is it done
Scaling and root planing is when a dental hygienist removes the plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, but also goes one step further. Unlike a typical cleaning, a periodontal cleaning means that the hygienist will especially target plaque trapped in the area underneath your gums, along the tooth root.
This procedure generally takes more time than a typical cleaning, so your dental hygienist may schedule extra time or clean a quarter or half of your mouth at a time.
This procedure can either be done with a manual scraping instrument or helped with the use of an ultrasonic tool. An ultrasonic tool is a tiny vibrating wand that breaks up the plaque. For added comfort, your dental hygienist may also use a local anesthetic during the procedure. The local anesthetic will “numb” the area to make the treatment more comfortable for you.
Bacteria lives in plaque and feeds on the sugars you eat and drink. These bacteria releases toxins that cause gingivitis which is infected, red, swollen and bleeding gums. Gingivitis eventually leads to gum disease if plaque is not removed from your teeth. If plaque has built up on teeth and gum disease is present, the gums begin to peel away from the tooth, leaving pockets or spaces for tartar and bacteria to get caught in.
If a patient has gum disease, this plaque build-up has already made its way underneath the gum tissue, along the tooth root. This makes it nearly impossible to access and remove bacteria with a regular toothbrush. This is when a deep cleaning is recommended.