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What Is Periodontal Scaling And Root Planing?

Team Periodontics

If you are among the many people battling gum disease, then your dentist has probably emphasized the importance of keeping your teeth clean with regular brushing and flossing. In some cases, periodontal scaling and root planing may be recommended to remove dental plaque and calculus from beneath the gums. Don’t worry – this treatment is nothing to fear, and it could possibly help save your teeth. Here’s what you should know.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, occurs when the gum tissues in the mouth become infected. Often, this is a result of poor brushing, flossing, and the buildup of plaque on the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to problems such as inflamed, bleeding gums. At more advanced stages, the teeth may begin to pull away from the gums, and this can potentially result in tooth loss.

Symptoms* of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away.
  • Red or swollen gums.
  • Tender or bleeding gums.
  • Painful chewing.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Sensitive teeth.
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth.

*Source: National Institutes of Health

Why Might You Need Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing?

Treating gum disease before it reaches advanced stages is important to help prevent serious problems like tooth loss. That’s when scaling and root planing may help. This type of deep cleaning can be beneficial for patients with large amounts of plaque and tartar on their teeth. It is a non-surgical procedure that can be done right in the dentist’s office. 

What Is the Process for Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing?

As the names suggest, periodontal scaling and root planing are conducted together as a two-step process.

  • First, during scaling, specialized dental instruments are used to remove dental plaque and calculus from beneath the gums.
  • Next, root planing smooths the tooth roots. This helps the gums heal and reattach themselves to a cleaner and smoother root surface.

Sometimes multiple visits may be needed to complete scaling and root planing. For example, one part of the mouth may be treated in one visit and another part in a separate visit until all areas have been addressed.

Does Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing Hurt?

You may experience some mild discomfort during scaling and root planing – similar to a vigorous tooth cleaning – but it should not hurt. Your dentist may use a local anesthetic to prevent pain during the procedure. Afterward, you may have some swelling and minor bleeding.

Also, there can be a risk of infection following the procedure. Depending on your health and individual risk, your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic before and after your procedure to help prevent infection.

What Are the Benefits of Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing?

Removing tartar, bacteria, and plaque on the roots of your teeth – and then smoothing your roots with planing – can help close up gaps that may form between your teeth and gums. This can help support better overall dental health and reduce the risk of problems such as tooth loss.

What Steps Can You Take to Help Prevent Gum Disease?

You can make a big difference in your gum health by practicing good everyday oral hygiene, including:

  • Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly
  • Attending regular dental cleanings

Also, smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease, so quitting can be good for your teeth as well as your overall health.

Want to Learn More About Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing?

Aurora Dental provides specialized services for periodontal scaling and root planing as part of our specialized care. Call 330-562-3400 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you manage your gum disease and maintain healthier teeth for life.