Tooth scaling and root planing are otherwise known as deep cleaning in dentistry. The procedure gets rid of tartar (hardened minerals) that can adhere to your teeth. You may need these treatments if you have periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
Tooth scaling removes tartar from the surface of your teeth that you see when you smile. Root planing removes tartar from the roots of your teeth below your gum line.
Teeth scaling and root planing help to treat chronic periodontal disease (otherwise known as gum disease). They are more in-depth than typical teeth cleaning.
Teeth scaling and root planing often take more than one dental visit and could require a local anesthetic based on the severity of your chronic periodontal disease and if you have receding gums.
Who performs tooth scaling and root planing?
Dentists and periodontists (gum disease specialists) offer these gum disease treatments. The procedure is usually done by a dental hygienist. Tooth scaling and root planning take place during the same dental visit. You’ll usually need more than one appointment to treat all of your teeth.
When do you need teeth scaling?
Your dentist will recommend teeth scaling and root planing if your mouth has signs of chronic periodontal disease. These procedures can help stop the harmful effects of this condition and keep your mouth healthy.
Chronic periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria in plaque cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. This causes large pockets to grow between your teeth and gums, and more bacteria can grow there that you cannot reach with teeth brushing at home.
What could go wrong?
That’s why it’s key to floss regularly to reach spots that toothbrushes can’t.
If left untreated, chronic periodontal disease can lead to:
- bone and tissue loss
- tooth loss
- loose teeth
- moving teeth
Reasons why you may develop chronic periodontal disease
Some of the reasons you may develop this condition include:
- poor dental hygiene
- changes in hormones
- poor nutrition
- family history
- other medical conditions.
- bleeding gums
- inflamed, red, or tender gums
- bad breath
- shifting permanent teeth
- a change in your bite.
What are the benefits of teeth scaling?
Teeth scaling and root planing are considered to be the “gold standard” treatment for chronic periodontal disease.
By reducing the pockets that develop between your teeth and gums through teeth scaling and root planing, you will reduce your risk of experiencing tooth, bone, and tissue loss associated with chronic periodontal disease.
What are the risks?
The risks of teeth scaling are minimal. You may be at risk for infection following the procedure, so your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic or special mouthwash to use for a few days or weeks.
WHEN TO CALL THE DENTIST
Following dental scaling and root planing, contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following:
- worsening pain
- the area doesn’t heal as expected
- you have a fever