When periodontal disease (gum and bone loss) start to take hold, often times a regular cleaning is not enough to clean the area. That’s when we recommend Scaling and Root Planing (deep cleaning), which allows our hygienists to remove all the bacteria below the gums. This promotes healing and gets you back on track to a healthy mouth.
The main goal of this treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment will require that the patient keep up good daily care at home. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome.
Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing) is the first stage of treatment to fight periodontal disease. It is a common procedure performed by our talented team of dental hygienists. In many cases, a non-injectable, topical anesthetic is administered in the pocket between the tooth and gum. The dental hygienist removes all plaque and tartar that causes the inflammatory process. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink, which makes it easier to keep teeth clean and control the disease. If this treatment isn’t effective in eliminating pockets or the disease is advanced, a referral to a periodontist will be given.
Diligent home care and more frequent professional cleanings are crucial following scaling and root planning to stabilize and maintain this disease. Our hygienists will give you instructions and suggest dental products that can help you do your part at home. Patients with periodontal disease require cleanings every 3 months which most insurance companies recognize and allow a benefit for. This is very important to prevent periodontal disease from advancing to the point of requiring periodontal surgery.
We take this disease very seriously and screen all of our patients annually. Education is the key to prevention. Early diagnosis and treatment can help keep teeth and gums happy and healthy for many years. If caught early enough we can prevent destruction of the bone supporting your teeth.
What to Expect after scaling and root planing
Following Scaling and Root Planing, you can expect to notice less redness, and less bleeding, and less swelling of your gum tissue. Your gum health can be maintained with proper home care and regular professional care.
Many patients report minimal to no discomfort following the procedure. If there is discomfort or pain it should be acute and subside in a few days. Discomfort immediately after treatment is usually associated with slight throbbing or aching. This discomfort usually subsides in about four hours. Any discomfort due to brushing should get better in one to three days. Acetaminophen or a non-aspirin analgesic should be taken as needed to reduce discomfort. Warm salt water rinses several times a day an help soothe gums, but should not be used for more than 1 week.
Some slight bleeding may occur during the next several brushings but the bleeding should steadily decrease after two or three days.
Root surfaces may be more exposed as the inflammation subsides. This may result in more spaces between teeth.
Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes and/or sweets. Use of a sensitivity control toothpaste containing potassium nitrite, and over the counter fluoride rinses help alleviate thermal sensitivity. In some cases a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste will be recommended. If sensitivity persists, professional application of fluorides can be done by your hygienist.
Follow the home care instructions given by your hygienist. If gum tissues are tender, brush your teeth gently but thoroughly; this may take a little more time than normal. By the third to fourth day, normal oral hygiene techniques can be resumed.
Learn more about scaling and root planning in this video: