Root Planing and Scaling

Have you been to the dentist and they suggest getting root planing and scaling done and you have no idea what that means? Let us break it down for you:

Plaque is the primary cause of gum (periodontal) disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease which can include: hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause, puberty, etc), medications, poor oral hygiene, illnesses (diabetes, cancer, etc), bad habits (smoking, chewing tobacco, etc), and family history.

Periodontal disease progresses over time if not treated. The symptoms include: gums that bleed during tooth brushing, red and tender gums, persistent bad breath, bad taste in the mouth, receding gums, formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums, and loose or shifting teeth.

Even if you don’t notice any symptoms you may still have some degree of the disease.  That is why routine dental cleanings and exams are important. Your gum health is charted and monitored at each appointment. If you have periodontal disease your dental hygienist will let you know what you need to do to prevent the disease from progressing. Early detection is the key to stopping the disease from progressing.

Unfortunately, once you have the disease you will always have it, however, with proper treatment you can stop it from getting worse. If it is not treated it can cause tooth loss because the disease causes you to lose the bone that supports your teeth. It has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes.

Root-Planing-and-ScalingTreatment usually consists of a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing either at your general dental office or you can be seen by a periodontal specialist. Your treatment depends on how severe your specific case is. Scaling and root planing is one of the best ways to stop gum disease before it becomes acute.  Typically a hygiene instrument called an ultrasonic scaler (pictured right) is used which combines vibration and water to clean the pockets between your teeth and gums deep to the roots.

If you get to the point of needing a deep cleaning, you will most likely need more frequent cleanings to maintain your condition and to not let it get worse.  Remember, you won’t be able to get rid of the disease, but you will be able to get a handle on it and hopefully retain the teeth you have.If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask your friendly hygienist or dentist at your next appointment or feel free to make an appointment now if you have dental needs that need to be addressed.

Information compiled from staff at Szmanda Dental Center 2014