Scaling & Root Planing

Depending upon the findings at the time of your examination, we may recommend a course of non-surgical, non-invasive therapy. This stage of treatment will often include comprehensive oral hygiene instruction, teaching you methods to keep your teeth clean and healthy for years to come. In addition, we may recommend a thorough deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Sometimes these deep cleanings and good home care are all that are required to obtain the state of oral health we are trying to help you reach.

Other non-invasive techniques which may be beneficial in select cases include both systemic and locally applied drug therapies.

Scaling and Root Planing Overview

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This initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease, a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing, is an important phase of treatment designed to initiate the healing process to reduce or eliminate the destruction associated with periodontal (gum) disease. 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 a preventative measure. They are commonly performed on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.

What do the procedures entail?

Drs. Pescheret, Hyde, Greising and Tzanos will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking X-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, we may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases, a local anesthetic may be used during the procedure.  We may also prescribe a course of antibiotics following the procedure, depending on your specific needs.

  • Scaling:
    When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area at or below the gum line, along the root.
  • Root Planing:
    Root planing is performed in order to smooth the root surface, removing unwanted tartar, toxins, and microorganisms embedded in the root surface. This promotes healing and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.

Antibiotics may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, Drs. Pescheret, Hyde, Greising and Tzanos may recommend placing an antibiotic directly in the deeper pocket to reduce inflammation even more. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.

When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for the doctors at Northwest Periodontics & Implants to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.

Benefits of Treatment

If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. 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 are deeper, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria and more aggressive bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This can lead to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing and should reduce bad breath caused by 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 procedures.