Posted on 8/20/2016 by Scholes Periodontics & Implants
If you were told that you have signs of gum disease and that scaling and root planing is recommended in order to ensure that the infection is completely removed from your mouth, you might feel worried at the thought.
Scaling and root planing sounds awfully scary, what does it entail? The good news is that it is simply a deep cleaning that goes beneath your gum line. It is more in depth than a standard cleaning, but it is the best way to remove the infection that could put the integrity of your teeth at risk.
How to Prepare
The good news is that there is nothing you need to do to prepare for this procedure! Even if a local anesthetic is necessary to keep you comfortable, you just need to show up for your appointment ready to get rid of the infection in your mouth. If you are a bit anxious, you can bring headphones with your favorite music or anything else that will help you relax, but the procedure is very routine and causes minimal discomfort.
How it Works
When we perform scaling and root planing, we are getting beneath the gum line to remove calculus and plaque that is accumulating. If this procedure is not done, the infection will continue to spread, causing your gums to recede and your teeth to eventually become loose. To prevent this, we do this procedure in two parts (in one appointment):
Scaling - This is the part of the procedure where we literally scrape away the calculus and plaque. This can be done manually or with an ultrasonic tool, depending on the amount of calculus and plaque that are present. Careful focus is paid to the area directly surrounding the root of your tooth as that is the area that becomes the most compromised and puts the integrity of your tooth at risk.
Planing - Once all of the debris is removed, your teeth are inspected once again. This time we are carefully looking at the cementum and dentin, where toxins can remain. This debris also needs to be removed in order to ensure a healthy mouth. Planing involves removing those toxins and smoothing the roots, allowing your mouth to heal while eliminating the risk of bacteria growing there once again.
This procedure will typically be administered with the help of local anesthetic in order to keep you comfortable. We can do the entire mouth at once or if there is excessive plaque and calculus, it can be divided into quadrants in order to ensure your comfort. Some patients do one quadrant at a time, while others divide it equally into two appointments, taking care of two quadrants each time.
Once the procedure is complete, we will decide if antibiotics are necessary. In some cases, they are placed directly in the pockets of your gums for the greatest response, while other times oral antibiotics are prescribed.
Keeping it Clean
Once you are done, it is important to keep up with the cleaning of those areas. Most patients then go on a schedule of four cleanings per year (one every 3 months) rather than just twice a year. This allows us to stay on top of the toxins that enter your mouth, removing them before they have the chance to do any more damage to your gums. In addition, home care is essential including regular brushing and flossing along with a healthy diet.
If you are worried about your gums, please call us for an appointment! Scaling and root planing is painless and requires very little recovery, yet can be the procedure that helps you save your teeth.