10 Jan

The Truth about Scaling and Root Planing and Why You Might Need It

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth to prevent cavities and decay, but the mouth needs more attention than brushing alone. Flossing is a critical next step that removes plaque from in between the teeth in a way that brushing cannot. Unfortunately, if you don’t brush and floss regularly and have skipped some of your regular dental checkups, your mouth could be at risk of gum disease. If this is the case, you will need a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing helps to save your mouth from additional damage.

Do You Need Scaling and Root Planing?

Plaque forms on your teeth every day, but strong dental hygiene habits can help to remove that plaque before it accumulates. When plaque ends up sticking around on your teeth instead, the gums become inflamed and pull away from the teeth to form empty pockets. Plaque easily becomes trapped in these pockets and can’t be removed with simple brushing and flossing. As the plaque worsens, gum disease intensifies and ultimately leads to bone and tooth loss. This is a major problem that leads many people to need tooth extractions, dentures, and implants.

If your mouth shows signs of bacteria and infection, you should seek scaling and root planing treatment immediately. The earlier your gum disease is treated, the more efficiently your mouth can heal and the more teeth that you can save. Believe it or not, 47 percent of adults over the age of 30 are impacted by chronic periodontitis, or advanced gum disease, and would benefit from scaling and root planing.

How Do Scaling and Root Planing Work?

According to the Journal of Evidence Based Dental Practice, scaling and root planing is the “gold standard” treatment for patients with chronic periodontitis because it works so efficiently to give the mouth a deep cleaning. The treatment does not involve surgery, but a local anesthetic is often used to numb any pain and discomfort in the mouth.

During root scaling, a dentist will utilize special ultrasonic tools to remove the hard deposits of plaque and tartar from the teeth above and below the gum line. Root planing, meanwhile, smoothes the rough spots on the roots of the teeth that often lead to gum disease. This helps the gums reattach to the teeth and begin to heal. After scaling and root planing, it’s critical to uphold diligent dental hygeine practices to prevent the gum disease from reoccurring.

Dr. Obrochta