Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are intensive cleaning treatments that can help stop gum disease in its tracks. These dental procedures work hand-in-hand to remove natural plaque buildup from below the gum line, which, if left untreated, could cause tooth decay and gum loss. With these straightforward cleaning techniques, it is possible to stop the spread of bacteria in the mouth and reverse the effects of gum disease.
What Is Scaling?
Scaling is a specific part of the cleaning procedure that focuses on the tooth, especially the area below the gum line that isn’t visible. During scaling, Dr. Crosby gently removes all of the built-up plaque and tartar from the tooth, including any hidden areas under the gums using a specific tool.
What Is Root Planing?
The second part of the procedure is called root planing. During this step, the dentist will address the roots of the teeth by planing, which smooths the roots and allows the gums to reattach. When the gums are free to reattach to the tooth, it makes the entire mouth healthier and reduces the chance of plaque and bacteria penetrating below the gumline in the future.
Depending on the individual patient and the amount of gum recession, multiple appointments may be necessary to complete the scaling and root planing procedures. You can rest easy knowing that our professional team may be able to administer a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.
Why Are These Services Needed?
Food particles and debris collect on the surface of the teeth. Usually, through good oral hygiene, these particles are brushed away. However, debris can sometimes form a film — called plaque — that covers the teeth. Inside, the plaque contains bacteria that can start to penetrate the gums. Unfortunately, once the plaque goes beneath the gum line, even regular brushing won’t be enough to eliminate the bacteria.
As the bacteria grows and spreads, it can cause the gums to become swollen and inflamed, and the gums will eventually pull away from the teeth. Tiny pockets will form where the gums recede, creating a void that will ultimately be filled with more bacteria. Eventually, the bacteria and plaque can lead to serious gum disease, as well as bone and tooth loss, if not treated.
Luckily, scaling and root planing are straightforward procedures that can stop and reverse the effects of gum disease. Your gums will be able to heal into healthy, pink gums by removing the built-up plaque and bacteria.
What Happens After My Procedure?
Scaling and root planing are detailed procedures that help to clean the teeth by thoroughly removing plaque and tartar. Sometimes, following a cleaning, you may feel a little sore or tender as the gums might be inflamed from the extensive cleaning.
To prevent future infection, you may be prescribed a mouth rinse or an antibiotic pill. You may also be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Crosby to ensure that your gums are healing properly and that the pockets are not recessing more.
How Can I Clean My Teeth Between Exams?
The best way to avoid a scaling and root planing is to maintain ongoing dental hygiene. Practice brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice per day, and floss at least once per day. Regular dental care can remove the majority of food debris and bacteria that can lead to gum disease. If you feel your gums are tender, sore, or inflamed, schedule an appointment with the dentist to take a closer look at your plaque buildup. Treating and eliminating plaque early can help promote a healthy smile in the future.
To learn more about preventative measures to keep your smile bright and beautiful, or to schedule a routine cleaning and examination, contact Crosby Dentistry today.