Scaling and Root Planing


A routine professional tooth cleaning session includes scaling your teeth and gums to remove tartar and plaque, polishing your teeth to remove stains and smooth the surface of your teeth. However, if show symptoms of gum disease we may need to employ another method of cleaning known as scaling and root planing.

When Do Patients need Scaling and Root Planing?


A non-surgical procedure, scaling and root planing (also known as a deep cleaning) is considered the gold standard in periodontitis treatment. When the gum tissue is healthy, it fits tightly around each of your teeth, and the distance between the top of the gumline to the place where it connects to the tooth is ideally 1 to 3 millimeters deep. However, if tartar and plaque grow near and underneath your gums, this can negatively impact the gum tissues supporting your teeth and cause deeper pockets to form in the gums.

Signs of advanced gum disease include heavy tartar buildup, halitosis (bad breath), and pockets deeper than 4 mm. If you have any of these symptoms, Dr. Raptou may prescribe scaling and root planing as a preliminary procedure.

What is the Procedure for Scaling and Root Planing?


The procedure for scaling and root planing teeth can require more than one appointment, and we usually use a local anesthetic keep discomfort at minimal levels. The scaling and root planing procedure resembles removing a splinter from an infected area.

During the procedure, we will carefully scaling all the bacterial toxins, plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth and surfaces of the roots. The next step is root planing, where we smooth down all the rough areas surfaces of the roots. When the root surfaces are smooth, it is harder for tartar, plaque, and bacteria to form under your gumline, thus galvanizing the healing process of the gums.

Follow-Up Appointments after the Procedure


After the procedure, we will have you come in again so we can examine how your gums are healing. In the majority of cases, swollen, red gums turn firm and pink again after the procedure, with reduced bleeding and smaller pockets. If this happens, you likely won’t need any further treatment. We may need to intervene surgically to stop further bone loss if you have more advanced periodontal symptoms, however, but the scaling and root planing procedure usually reduce the amount of future surgery you’ll require.

Regardless of the procedure, you may still need to come in for maintenance visits once every two to four months. During these appointments, we will do routine cleanings, examine your gum tissue, and measure the depths of the pockets and how much your gums have receded.

Preventive Measures


Gum disease is often painless so you might not detect it until it’s in an advanced stage. Coming in for regular exams and cleanings is crucial for preventing periodontitis, but you certainly cannot neglect personal care at home:
[[[Brush your teeth at least twice a day and replace your toothbrush when the bristles become worn out
~Floss your teeth at least twice a day and get between your teeth and any implants, crowns or bridge work
~Use antimicrobial mouthwash
~Refrain from smoking
~Eat a balanced diet]]]

Root planing and scaling teeth is a highly effective procedure in treating periodontitis. Take confidence that it will restore your gum health if we prescribe it for you.

For more information, please contact our office at (614) 427-0449.

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