Scaling and root planing is a special deep-cleaning technique used to treat patients who have moderate to advanced gum disease. Scaling and root planing uses special instruments to reach below the gums, removing disease-causing bacteria, tartar and plaque around the deeper portions of the tooth and the root while also smoothing bumps and rough spots on roots that can make it easier for bacteria to adhere. Without treatment, gum disease can progress, causing tooth roots to become weak and eventually resulting in tooth loss.
Scaling and root planing use special instruments to reach below the gums, gently removing deposits of bacteria as well as plaque and hard tartar deposits where bacteria tend to hide. Once plaque and tartar are removed, and the root surface is smoothed, antibiotic gels are often applied to the treated area to destroy bacteria that are very difficult to reach and to prevent reinfection. Root planing and scaling can be performed using local anesthetics to numb the gums, so discomfort is reduced or eliminated. In very advanced disease, two treatments may be needed to make sure the bacteria are completely treated.
Once root planing and scaling are complete, and the local anesthetic wears off, there may be minor residual soreness and puffiness, both of which will soon resolve. Salt rinses and over-the-counter oral pain medications can be used when needed to reduce swelling and discomfort. In some cases, hot foods will need to be avoided for a few hours to assist in the initial healing of the area. Additional instructions may be provided regarding brushing, flossing and general care for optimal healing. Once the harmful bacteria have been eliminated, it will be easier for the healthy gum tissue to adhere to the tooth surface, helping to prevent bacteria from reaching the area below the gums.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!