Periodontal therapy, also known as scaling and root planing is a procedure used to treat periodontal disease. Thought of by many as a ‘deep cleaning’, this in-office procedure involves the careful removal of hardened plaque below the gum line, where harmful bacteria can grow and cause damage to both the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. The treatment starts with scaling, during which special instruments are used to scrape tartar away from the teeth and gums. Root planing follows, which is a process of smoothing the surface of the tooth’s root in order to prevent bacteria from accumulating there in the future. In some cases, an antibiotic treatment may be indicated to ensure that the treatment is as successful as possible.
Did you know…
that you cannot brush or rinse away hardened plaque that causes periodontal disease? The only thing you can do is prevent it from accumulating by using good brushing and flossing habits. Once tartar has formed, the only way to remove it is via a professional dental or periodontal cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a periodontal scaling and root planing?
You may need scaling and root planing if you are suffering from mild to moderate periodontal disease. Visit your dentist for an exam if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, such as bleeding when brushing or flossing, inflamed or receding gums, chronic halitosis, or loose teeth. If your periodontal disease is advanced, you may require grafting or flap surgery.
What should I expect during a scaling and root planing?
If you require a scaling and root planing, you’ll first be made comfortable – perhaps using a local anesthetic. You should feel little or no discomfort other than the sensation of the cleaning tools scraping away hardened plaque. Procedure lengths vary according to the extent of the disease and the areas it is located within the mouth. If your periodontal disease is widespread, you may need to spread out your treatment into multiple visits.
Will I need to follow any special post-treatment care instructions?
Most patients experience little or no discomfort after scaling and root planing, although your mouth may continue to be numb for several hours following the procedure. After your periodontal therapy appointment(s), we will ask that you return to our office every three months for your periodontal maintenance cleaning. Periodontal disease is chronic, and therefore requires more frequent cleanings than someone with healthy gums. We find our patients that follow a strict home-care regimen, and stay on schedule with their periodontal maintenance cleanings, are the most successful at maintaining their oral and overall health. You’ll also be advised to avoid certain habits, such as smoking that exacerbate periodontal disease. Most patients experience little or no discomfort after scaling and root planing, although your mouth may continue to be numb for several hours following the procedure.