Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

While the idea of periodontal scaling and root planing can be scary, the process can treat months of dental neglect. Deep cleaning is required for patients with severe cases of plaque and tartar buildup around the gums, which can normally be an indicator of gingivitis and developing periodontal disease.

Why is root scaling and planing important?

The purpose of scaling and root planing, also known as non-surgical periodontal therapy or deep cleaning, is to remove dangerous dental plaque and tartar on teeth and in pockets developed between gums. Etiological agents—plaque and calculus—cause irritation to the bone and gums, which leads to gum recession and eventual tooth loss. Removing existing bacteria, plaque, and tartar from teeth help encourage the body’s natural healing process to repair damage done to the gums and teeth. Scaling and root planing can also aid patients suffering from chronic bad breath.

Dangers of plaque on gums

What is plaque? Plaque is a soft yellow substance that sticks to tooth surfaces, including removable and fixed restorations. Primarily composed of bacteria, plaque releases toxins that cause inflammation to the tissues surrounding the teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can normally remove plaque and break up the bacteria daily. If plaque remains in the mouth for more than 24 hours, it transforms from a soft, easily removable film into a hard substance known as calculus, more commonly known as tartar.

If plaque and tartar build up, the gums are in danger of inflammation and infection. Inflammation around the gums is known as gingivitis, the first indicator of onset periodontal disease. Significantly infected gums will develop pockets where plaque and tartar build up and endanger the jaw bones. Patients that allow periodontal disease to manifest for extended periods of time become susceptible to severe health complications, including tooth loss and extreme discomfort in your teeth and jaw.

Untreated plaque in the gums can also affect an individual’s overall health. Oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream, affecting other parts of the body and increasing a patient’s risk for ailments such as heart disease.

Process of deep cleaning, scaling & root planing

Prior to scaling and root planing, a dentist will examine the patient. Dentists measure the pockets developed between the gums. Depending on the severity of the disease, anesthetics may be applied. During the scaling process, an ultrasonic scaling tool will likely be used to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. Next, the dentist will move to root planing, which removes cementum and surface dentin to smooth the surface of the teeth, helping to prevent future bacteria from building up. After this procedure, antibiotics may be administered to patients to speed up the healing process and sooth any irritation at their discretion.

Call your Scottsdale Dentist

To learn more about scaling and root planing, call our Scottsdale Dental Care office, or make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Ronald K Thompson about deep cleaning procedures.


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