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Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing

Do you have gum disease? Are you curious about the treatment for gum disease? If so, keep reading. Gum disease affects the gums and the roots of your teeth. When gum disease advances into periodontal disease, the damage is usually irreversible.


But if your gum disease is only in the first stages—i.e., gingivitis—a dentist can treat and reverse it successfully. The main treatments used to stop the progression of gum disease to periodontal disease are scaling and root planing.


Here is what you need to know about scaling and root planing as a treatment for gum disease.


What Are Scaling and Root Planing?


Scaling and root planing are non-surgical procedures for deep cleaning the gum tissues. They are treatments that dentists use to remove plaque, tartar, and calculus, which is calcified plaque, from under the gumline. They are the standard procedures that stop the progression of gum disease.


Scaling refers to the removal of built-up calculus. On the other hand, root planing is the process of smoothening the roots of your teeth to prevent the re-accumulation of plaque and tartar.


What Are the Signs That You Need Scaling and Root Planing?


Dentists will usually recommend these procedures if you show signs of gum disease. They will usually examine the health of your gums and tooth roots to determine the extent of the gum disease. Here are the main symptoms of gum disease:


  • Red puffy gums

  • Gums that pull back, exposing the roots of your teeth and making them look longer

  • A buildup of tartar and plaque that appears white, yellow, or brown visible on your teeth

  • Bleeding gums

  • Chronic bad breath


When gum disease is advanced, it causes teeth to become loose. The gum disease attacks the roots of your teeth, causing the teeth to have attachment loss.


What Are Deep Gum Pockets?


When gum disease advances, it causes the formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums. These pockets are called periodontal pockets, and people suffering from gum disease have deeper pockets than people with healthy gums.


The term deep cleaning comes from these deep pockets. Deep cleaning these pockets allows your gums to heal from the damage caused by gum disease. If the gum disease is advanced, you will need scaling and root planing before the deep cleaning.


What Happens in the Scaling and Root Planing Procedure?


Scaling and root planing are two different procedures conducted together. The dentist may need to perform the procedure in multiple sessions, focusing on a quarter of the mouth per session. As stated earlier, scaling involves removing plaque and tartar, while root planing is smoothing your tooth roots. The process will involve the following steps:


  • Administration of local anesthesia

  • The dentist will then start the scaling and root planing process

  • Afterward, the dentist will flush your mouth with antibacterial solutions

  • The final step is placing antibiotics in the periodontal pockets


What Tools Are Used for the Procedure?


Periodontal Scalers


The dentist uses these tools to remove tartar from above the gumline. They have narrow ends, which make them effective at working above the gumline.


Periodontal Curettes


The dentist uses these tools above and below the gumline because of their blunt ends. Both scalers and curettes can be ultrasonic or sonic, meaning the tips may vibrate to make the tools more efficient.


For more on scaling and root planing, visit Midtown Dental Center at our office in Atlanta, Georgia. Call (404) 874-0800 to book an appointment today.

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