Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)
The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove etiologic agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or as a preventative measure.
What does the procedure entail?
Dr. Saleh will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays, measuring the periodontal pockets and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar and bleeding, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, Dr. Saleh may recommend scaling and root planing. Local anesthesia will be used during the procedure to keep you comfortable.
- Scaling and Root Planing:
During the procedure, plaque and calculus attached to the tooth and root surfaces are removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling and root planing is performed using a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaler, as well as detailed hand scaling. By removing unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar, and smoothing the rough surfaces of the tooth and the root, healing is promoted, thereby preventing bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
- Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, Dr. Saleh may place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after scaling and root planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage healing.
- The healing response is evaluated 6 weeks after the scaling and root planing is completed. At this time Dr. Saleh will recommend the frequency of future recare appointments as well as the need for additional treatment.
Benefits of Treatment
Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedure.