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What to Expect From Scaling and Root Planing

One of the benefits of a dental checkup is that the professional cleaning can be completed in short order. Patients that we don’t see often, usually require a deeper, more comprehensive cleaning.

If life has gotten in the way of tending to your oral health, we would consider it a privilege to be of service. That often involves deep cleaning below the gum line known as scaling and root planing.

Relax. It sounds worse than it actually is.

However, to appreciate this procedure, you’ll want to understand why it’s necessary.

Below the Gum Line

Plaque is relentlessly forming on our teeth. Even those who are quite disciplined when it comes to oral health habits fight this battle.

If this sticky film of bacteria isn’t professionally removed from time to time, gums can become diseased and inflamed. The first stage is gingivitis. If neglected it becomes periodontitis. It is estimated that almost half of all adults over the age of 30 suffer from this advanced form of gum disease.

This causes the gums to pull away from your teeth. Small pockets created below the gum line trap more food and bacteria, worsening the situation.

That’s when scaling and root planing may be necessary.

A Two-Stage Process

First, the hardened plaque and tartar is removed above and below the gum line. This may be done mechanically or using an ultrasonic wand. Then root planing can begin. Smoothing the tooth roots below the gum line help the gums reattach to your teeth.

Especially challenging cases may take more than a single visit to complete. In certain cases a local anesthetic may be used to make the process easier. When there is a lot of cleaning necessary we may address sections of the mouth over several visits.

Everyone Responds Differently

After your deep cleaning, your gums may feel tender and be a bit swollen. Thankfully, this is usually short-lived.

After a deep cleaning, infection control may be a concern. To help you heal we may apply a topical medication. In some cases you may need to take a course of antibiotic treatment both before and after your procedure.

Every patient is a little different. It just depends on the severity of the gum disease, and how well you respond to treatment.

We’d Like to Be Your Partner

Root planing and scaling are routine procedures that are highly effective. If it’s been some time since your last checkup, a deep cleaning may be a good place to start. Which begins by booking a visit. Do so when things return more to normal so we can see what’s going on. Then we can suggest a course of treatment to get your oral health back on track. No shame. No lecturing. We’re here to help.

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