Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

The objective of scaling & root planing is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone.  Common etiologic agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and tartar (calculus).

These non-surgical procedures which completely cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and moderate/severe periodontal disease.

A bright smile is a beautiful asset, but beneath those pearly whites lies an intricate network of roots and gums that also needs care. At Sisko Dentistry, we recognize the importance of comprehensive oral health. Root planing is a specialized procedure designed to treat gum disease, ensuring that the foundation of your teeth remains as healthy as their visible counterparts.

Reasons for scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planning can be used both as a preventative measure and as a stand-alone treatment.  These procedures are performed as a preventative measure for a periodontitis sufferer.

Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:

  • Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body.  Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria.  Scaling and root planing remove bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.
  • Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease.  As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria.  Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss.  Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.
  • Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline.  As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planning procedure.
  • Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath).  Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.

Symptoms Indicating the Need for Root Planing

  • Persistent bad breath despite maintaining oral hygiene.
  • Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing.
  • Tender, red, or swollen gums.
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.
  • Deep pockets forming between the teeth and gums.
  • Noticeable pus between teeth and gums.
  • A change in bite or fit of dental appliances.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth.  The dentist will take X-rays, conduct visual examinations and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.

Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, the depth of the pockets and the progression of the periodontitis, local anesthetic may be used.

  • Scaling – This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool.  The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces.  In many cases, the scaling tool includes an irrigation process that can also be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.
  • Root Planing – This procedure is a specific treatment which serves to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar.  The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps bacteria from easily colonizing in future.

Understanding the Importance

Gum health is integral to maintaining a vibrant smile. Root planing becomes necessary when there is a build-up of tartar and bacteria beneath the gum line, leading to gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. If left untreated, these conditions can cause irreversible damage to your teeth and their supporting structures. More importantly, gum disease has been linked to broader health concerns, including heart diseases and diabetes, making its treatment essential for oral health and overall well-being.

Woman smiling after receiving Root Planing

The Treatment Process

  • Initial Examination: Our doctor begins with a thorough examination using special instruments to measure the depth of spaces between the teeth and gums.
  • Local Anesthesia: To ensure comfort, a local anesthetic might be applied to numb the treatment area.
  • Deep Cleaning: The procedure involves two main processes – scaling to remove tartar from above and below the gum line, and root planing to smoothen rough spots on the tooth root, removing bacteria.
  • Post-Treatment Care: Depending on the depth of the gum pockets and severity of the gum disease, antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed.

Following these deep cleaning procedures, the gum pockets may be treated with antibiotics.  This will soothe irritation and help the gum tissues to heal quickly.

During the next appointment, the dentist or hygienist will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed.  If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.

If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.

Ensuring Long-term Oral Health

Good oral hygiene is the frontline defense against gum disease. Regular brushing, using an antimicrobial mouthwash, and flossing can keep harmful bacteria in check. Moreover, periodic dental check-ups are vital to spot and address potential issues before they escalate. Avoiding tobacco and opting for a balanced diet also plays a pivotal role in maintaining gum health.

Outlook Following Root Planing

After undergoing the root planing procedure, many patients report a noticeable reduction in symptoms and an overall enhancement in gum health. This treatment can offer a significant boost in combating gum disease, but it’s only one part of the puzzle. Maintaining consistent oral care routines is essential to maximize the benefits of the procedure.

Ensuring regular dental check-ups post-procedure is crucial to make these positive effects enduring and to monitor the health of the gums continuously. While it’s normal to experience some mild discomfort after the treatment, any prolonged or severe pain should be brought to the attention of our doctor at Sisko Dentistry to ensure optimal healing and health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is root planing?

Root planing is a deep cleaning procedure targeting the removal of bacteria and tartar buildup from the tooth roots beneath the gum line. This treatment aims to prevent or treat gum diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis.

How often do I need to undergo root planing?

The frequency of root planing depends on the severity of gum disease and individual oral conditions. Some patients might need it once, while others might require periodic treatments. Our doctor at Sisko Dentistry will provide personalized recommendations based on your oral health.

Is the root planing procedure painful?

At Sisko Dentistry, patient comfort is paramount. While root planing goes deeper than regular cleaning, we use local anesthesia to numb the area, ensuring minimal discomfort. Some patients might experience mild sensitivity post-procedure, which usually subsides within a few days.

Taking The Next Step

Are you experiencing any of the above symptoms? Don’t wait for them to escalate. Reach out to Sisko Dentistry in Tallmadge, OH, to discuss your concerns. With expert care and guidance, we can help you pave the way to improved oral health. Call us at (330) 633-9510 today, and let’s embark on your journey to a healthier smile.

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