Scaling and Root Planing

Routine Cleaning vs Scaling and Root Planing

For patients diagnosed with periodontal disease, a more advanced cleaning called scaling and root planing may be recommended as the first step in treating it. There are several differences between this and a routine dental cleaning.  A routine dental cleaning is preventive in nature and its purpose is keeping gum disease and tooth decay from developing. It usually takes place every 6 months and the teeth are cleaned from deposits above the gum line.
Scaling and root planing is a specialized procedure meant as an initial treatment for patients diagnosed with periodontal disease. Teeth are treated deep beneath the gumline to remove the excessive plaque and bacterial deposits. In addition, root surfaces are smoothed out to discourage additional bacteria from attaching. The procedure may require multiple appointments done in stages. Once completed, a custom maintenance schedule will be created that best promotes the continued rehabilitation of your gum tissue.

Prophy vs Scaling and Root Planing Video
Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal or gum disease is an inflammatory condition of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is prevalent in adults and major cause of tooth loss. It is typically asymptomatic and many patients are not aware they have this condition. Gum disease is caused by plaque and calculus deposits on the teeth that harbor bacteria, and lead to eventual bone and tooth loss. Newer research has linked periodontal disease with systemic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, pregnancy complications and low birth weight, etc.
Signs of periodontal disease include tender, red and swollen gums that bleed easily, bad breath and bad taste, teeth that have shifted position, and in advanced cases teeth that are loose. Scaling and root planing is the first line of treatment for periodontal disease. It is a non-surgical approach that removes excessive calculus and bacterial deposits below the gum line. It is usually done in 2 visits, under local anesthesia using hand and ultrasonic power cleaners. More advanced cases may need surgical treatment in addition to scaling and root planing. Gum disease and bone loss is irreversible, treatment is designed to control and maintain the condition but will not reverse the damage that has already occurred.

Scaling and Root Planing Procedure