A Step-by-Step Procedure on Scaling and Root Planing


Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a common dental problem affecting millions of people in the United States. This inflammatory disease affects your gums, and without early intervention, may progress to your jaw bone. You may develop periodontitis if you do not brush your teeth every day, resulting in plaque accumulation. When this goes on for a long time, the plaque hardens into tartar – a substance difficult to remove with regular brushing and flossing. Fortunately, your Boca Raton periodontist may recommend scaling and root planing for treatment to improve your oral health.

What is scaling and root planing?

Scaling and root planing or deep cleaning is a two-step restorative procedure involving removing tartar from your teeth and root surfaces. Your specialist may recommend this process if you have periodontitis. The following symptoms are linked with periodontitis:

·         Loose teeth caused by receding gums

·         Bad breath

·         Inflammation in your gums

·         Bleeding gums

·         Pus oozing from gum pockets

What can you expect during scaling and root planing?

Before treatment, your specialist will administer local anesthesia to help control pain. The membrane-stabilizing drug does not make you unconscious but results in numbing of the treatment area. The next step is known as sub-gingival scaling. Here, your dentist uses an ultrasonic device or a manual hand instrument to remove plaque and calculus beneath your gums and on the base of your teeth. You will require two appointments for this procedure – one for scaling and the other for root planing.

An ultrasonic device produces vibrations that loosen the tartar, making it easier to remove. A manual dental scaler is used to remove plaque that an ultrasonic device cannot break loose.

Root planing

A tooth consists of four main components – enamel, cementum, dentin, and dental pulp. As periodontitis progresses, this disease may cause damage to both the dentin and cementum. The root planing procedure is designed to polish the root surface to eliminate and keep bacteria from getting trapped beneath your gum line. Your specialist may remove a small superficial layer of your dentin during the process and clean below the gums to remove plaque and tartar. After treatment, your gums will reattach more firmly to your teeth.

What to expect after the procedure

As the numbing medication wears off, you may experience pain. Your dentist may prescribe anti-inflammation drugs to minimize any discomfort and an oral rinse to prevent an infection. You may also have tooth sensitivity, swollen, and tender gums for approximately one week. After treatment, your dentist may send you home with several guidelines to help you prevent periodontal disease. For example:

·         Brush your teeth at least twice every day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

·         Floss every day to remove food particles in the crevices of your teeth.

·         Replace your toothbrush after every three months when the bristles are worn.

·         Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill bacteria in places where brushing and flossing may not.

·         Stop using tobacco and avoid smoking, as this puts you at risk of having periodontitis.

·         Eat a balanced diet and increase your intake of vegetables and fruits.

Scaling and root planing is important to keep your teeth healthy and free from periodontal disease. If you have receding gums or would love to learn more about the benefits of scaling and root planing, schedule a session with your specialist at SEDA Dental.


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