Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a method of treating a periodontal disease when pockets, or the area between your teeth and gums, are greater than 3mm. Scaling is used to remove plaque and calculus (tarter) beneath the gumline. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Using an instrument called a small scaler or an ultrasonic cleaner, the dentist or hygienist carefully removes plaque and calculus down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. The tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed or planed. This allows the gum tissue to heal. It also makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces.

How Long Will it Take to Complete My Treatment?

If you require all quadrants (UL, LL, UR, LR), it could take up to four one-hour appointments. It is most desirable to schedule all your appointments one week apart so that your treatment will be completed in a month’s time. We have found it is best to schedule all of your appointments with the same hygienist. Once your hygienist has become familiar with your mouth, they can more easily track your progress.

What Happens After My Treatment is Completed?

After your scaling and root planing is completed you will need to come back within a month for a follow up visit where a “fine scale” will be performed. A fine scale is very similar to a traditional dental cleaning. It is important that you keep up with the hygiene schedule your doctor and hygienist have determined is appropriate for you.

How do I maintain my oral health after treatment?

As mentioned before, it is imperative that you continue to come in for routine dental care when you are due. Make sure to brush and floss regularly, and your dentist or hygienist may even suggest a prescription mouthwash to aid in homecare. Maintaining a balanced diet is also suggested to support your oral health (i.e. reduced sugar intake).

Scaling and Root Planing FAQ’s

Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?

With proper oral health care and maintenance, gum disease can be prevented. Maintain a good, healthy oral hygiene routine that consists of brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily and regular preventive oral care visits.

When Do You Need To See A Periodontist Instead of A General Dentist?

If you have severe gum disease, then you will be referred to a Periodontist. Periodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating gum disease. They will be able to offer you specialized treatment options not typically offered by a general dentist.

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