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Restoring Oral Health with Root Planing and Scaling

By Steven Kail on August 30, 2014


A dentist smiling while a dental hygienist performs a dental cleaning in the background Preventing gum disease requires a lifelong commitment to practicing proper oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, gum disease may still occur. When brushing and flossing alone aren't enough to reverse gum disease, root planing and scaling can be performed. Root planing and scaling is a restorative dentistry technique that can stop gum disease from spreading and restore oral health. Read this overview to learn how our Jackson patients are benefiting from root planing and scaling treatment.

When Is Root Planing and Scaling Needed?

Root planing and scaling is a restorative treatment used to deeply clean the teeth, well below the gum line. It is needed when gum disease has led to the development of pockets between the gums and teeth. Pockets form when plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup at the gum line. As this debris builds, it begins to push the gums away from the teeth, eventually allowing plaque and bacteria to reach the tooth roots and causing pockets to grow larger. Root planing and scaling treatment is simple and highly effective at closing pockets and reversing gum disease.

The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure

The root planing and scaling procedure is a non-surgical treatment for gum disease, performed by either a dentist or dental hygienist. For most patients, root planing and scaling is relatively painless. Some may experience minimal gum soreness or mild discomfort following treatment. During root planing and scaling, the patient is kept comfortable with anesthetic to numb the gums. Special scraping tools are used to remove plaque, bacteria, and tartar down to the tooth roots.

The general technique for root planing and scaling is to remove large pieces of tartar and plaque with ultrasonic tools. Detailed cleaning is then done with hand tools for more precision. A water irrigation system is also used throughout treatment to help wash away debris.

Antibiotic fibers may be placed between the newly cleaned teeth and gums to help the gums heal and prevent infection. Antibiotic fibers are generally reserved for those with large pockets and more extensive gum disease. Such patients may also require root planing and scaling treatment to be performed in multiple treatments.

Scaling and Root Planing Aftercare

Root planing and scaling can help reverse gum disease, but it is not a permanent cure. Gum disease will return if the teeth and gums are not cleaned properly. The success of root planing and scaling treatment greatly depends on proper aftercare. Preventing gum disease from returning requires a lifelong commitment to practicing proper oral hygiene, including:

  • Thoroughly brushing for two minutes at least twice a day.
  • Flossing between each tooth (making sure to reach up to the gum line) at least once a day.
  • Seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
  • Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash.

Schedule a Consultation

To find out more information about root planing and scaling, or to learn about other treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Premier Dental Center

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