Scaling & Root Planing
This non-surgical, deep cleaning treatment can be your very best defense against plaque and tartar build-up.
Scaling and root planing is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. This procedure will clean between the gums and the teeth down to the roots.
Periodontal (perry-oh-DON-tal) diseases (also known as gum diseases) are infections of the gum and bone that hold teeth in place.
If periodontal problems are not treated, they can become severe and may lead to tooth loss. Periodontal diseases are often painless. You may not be aware that you have a problem until your gums and the supporting bone are damaged.
The good news is that periodontal disease often can be treated with a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. Treatment has a huge benefit: you’ll increase the chances of keeping your natural teeth.
What is Scaling and Root Planing?
This is a periodontal treatment where plaque and tartar are carefully removed down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. This treatment may be done over several visits, depending on your needs. The tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed, or planed, to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth.
There are medications to help control infection and pain, or to aid healing. These medications could include a pill, a mouth rinse or a substance that the dentist places directly in the periodontal pockets after scaling and root planing. If you smoke or chew tobacco products, it is important to quit.
What causes periodontal diseases?
Plaque is a sticky film that is always forming on your teeth. It contains bacteria that produce harmful toxins. If teeth are not cleaned well, the toxins can irritate and inflame the gums. Inflamed gums can pull away from the teeth and form pockets that trap plaque. The gums can become infected. If the infected pockets are not treated, the disease can get worse. The bone and other tissues that support the teeth are damaged.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Brush your teeth twice a day, and remember to floss daily. If plaque remains on teeth, it can harden into a rough surface called tartar—and tartar can only be removed when you have your teeth cleaned at the dental office.
How are periodontal diseases treated?
Treatment depends on the type and severity of the disease. If the disease is caught early, treatment can be simply to improve your daily oral hygiene after having a professional cleaning.
If the disease is more severe, a deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing is needed.
Will periodontal disease go away by itself?
No. Detecting and treating the disease while it’s still in the early stages is the best way to keep your smile healthy.