Regular professional dental cleans are an important part of your preventative dental care. Professional cleanings are shown to help patients maintain a healthier and more attractive smile for longer. 

However, if you are one of the estimated 50% or more of Americans suffering from some degree of gum disease, then we may recommend you for an alternative type of professional cleaning, known as scaling and root planing.


What is tooth scaling and root planing?

Tooth scaling and a root planing is a fairly common, non-surgical dental procedure that is recommended for patients suffering from some degree of gum disease. As a result, these patients require a much deeper professional cleaning of their teeth to remove the gum infection.

Since the cleaning involved in scaling and root planing is significantly more invasive than a standard professional clean, the procedure is usually performed while the patient is under the effects of a local anesthetic. In some cases, where the patient is particularly nervous or has a disability, sedation may also be provided.

During this process, tooth scaling is performed first. During the tooth scaling phase, we will thoroughly remove any plaque that is visible on your teeth, before turning our attention to clearing out any plaque, bacteria, or food debris from the periodontal pockets.

Periodontal pockets are small gaps that appear between your teeth and gums as a result of gum disease, an inflammatory condition caused by plaque irritating the soft tissues of the gums. In some cases, it may be necessary for to place antibiotic fibers into these periodontal pockets. Antibiotic fibers are placed under the gums for approximately seven days to help destroy any infected material and protect against further infection. 

Once the first part of the procedure has been completed, we will turn our attention to the planing part of the process. This involves using specialized tools to smooth away the rough areas on the surface of each tooth’s root. Doing so will not only help prevent plaque and tartar from re-accumulating along the gum line, it will also make it significantly easier for your gums to reattach to your teeth, forming a secure seal once more. 

You may be in a little discomfort for a few days after your procedure, and you can expect your teeth to bleed easily when you brush them. A few weeks after your procedure, we will ask you to return for a follow-up appointment to check on the progress of your healing. 


Why scaling and root planing is beneficial for patients with gum disease

There are a variety of reasons why scaling and root planing is recommended for patients that are suffering from gum disease. Some of the key benefits of the procedure include:


Reduced risk of gum disease progressing

Gum disease is a progressive condition, and without the correct treatment, it can worsen significantly. If this happens, the patient can experience severe and often irreversible damage to their teeth and mouth. Painful infections, receding gums, deterioration of the jaw bone, and tooth loss can occur. Scaling and root planing can prevent your gum disease from progressing to this stage.


Protect your overall health

Severe gum disease is linked to the development of a number of health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even Alzheimer’s disease. This is because the bacteria causing the infection in your gums can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout your body, affecting your major organs and body systems. By reducing your risk of severe periodontal disease, you can help keep your entire body healthy. 


Better oral health

Needless to say, a mouth without gum disease is much healthier. There should be no accumulation of plaque which is known to cause cavities to develop. Your teeth and gums will be in better condition, and you shouldn’t have unpleasant symptoms such as bad breath.


A more attractive smile

Scaling and root planing can also make your smile look much more attractive. This is because superficial stains will be removed during the procedure, and unsightly plaque will also be eliminated. After a few days, your gums should also look less red and swollen, which are two common symptoms of gum disease. 

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of scaling and root planing, or if you have concerns about gum disease and would like to schedule a consultation with our experienced dental team, call 813-517-0100 today.