Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing are necessary procedures in the treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup and is the first stage of periodontal disease. Generally with gingivitis, no pain is felt, instead you may notice the warning signs of red, swollen or bleeding gums. If left untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious stage of periodontal disease called periodontitis. With periodontitis the bone that supports the teeth can be destroyed. In advanced stages of periodontitis, the teeth become loose and will eventually fall out or become infected and need to be extracted.

If we diagnose you with gingivitis or periodontitis our first step in clinical treatment is scaling and root planing. This procedure involves our specially trained dental hygienists removing plaque, calculus (calcified plaque) and toxins from the root surfaces. The root surfaces are smoothed making it very difficult for new plaque to attach. During the treatment the gum tissue is also treated allowing it to attach firmly to the smooth root surface. Because this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning, your mouth will be numbed. The cleaning usually takes two visits to complete. Part of the procedure will involve polishing your teeth which will remove all stains and plaque from the crown of the tooth. This not only brightens your smile; stains attract plaque and bacteria which cause gingivitis and periodontitis.

The dental hygienist will also perform a procedure called subgingival irrigation. A prescription antibiotic mouth rinse is used between the gums and teeth to assist in healing.

Thorough oral hygiene instructions specific to your needs are very important and always included in your treatment. Keep brushing and flossing your teeth as instructed. Over the counter pain medication may be taken to help eliminate any discomfort. If you are prescribed an antibacterial rinse, please follow the directions.

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