October 10, 2023

Is Scaling and Root Planing The Right Choice for Oral Health?

Scaling and root planing is a dental procedure that can combat gum disease and promote your oral health. Today’s article will discuss the scaling and root planing technique, when it's recommended, its benefits, and what to expect during and after the procedure.

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical dental procedure that involves two main steps:

Scaling: Removes plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from the surfaces of your teeth, both above and below the gumline. 

Root Planing: Root planing involves smoothing out the tooth's root surfaces to promote gum reattachment to the tooth.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

Early warning signs of gum disease include:

Bleeding Gums: If you notice blood on your toothbrush or dental floss, it's a sign of gum inflammation.

Swollen or Red Gums: Healthy gums have a pale pink color and appear firm whereas swollen or red gums are often indicative of gum disease.

Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath that doesn't improve with regular oral hygiene practices can also be a sign of gum disease.

Gum Recession: As gum disease advances, the gumline may start to recede, making your teeth appear longer than usual.

When is Scaling and Root Planing Recommended?

Scaling and root planing is recommended when gum disease has progressed beyond the early stages and has developed into periodontitis. 

Deep Periodontal Pockets: When the spaces between your teeth and gums (periodontal pockets) are deeper than 4 millimeters and accompanied by bleeding, scaling and root planing may be necessary.

Visible Tartar and Plaque Buildup: If there is a significant accumulation of tartar and plaque on your teeth, even with regular oral hygiene, scaling and root planing can help remove this buildup.

Gum Recession: If your gums have receded significantly, it can expose the roots of your teeth, making them more vulnerable to infection.

Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing

Improved Gum Health: The primary goal of the scaling and root planing technique is to restore the health of your gums and reduce inflammation.

Prevention of Tooth Loss: Scaling and root planing can help prevent tooth loss.

Potential Impact on Overall Health: There is growing evidence suggesting that gum disease may be linked to other systemic health issues. Treating gum disease through procedures like scaling and root planing may contribute to improved overall health.

The Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

Before undergoing scaling and root planing, you'll have a comprehensive dental examination to determine the extent of gum disease. Here's what you can expect during and after the procedure:

Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is administered to numb the areas being treated during the procedure.

Scaling: Your dentist will carefully remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, reaching below the gumline to clean the roots.

Root Planing: After scaling, the roots of your teeth will be smoothed to prevent bacteria from easily reattaching.

During scaling and root planing, you may hear scraping sounds, but you should not experience pain due to the local anesthesia. After the procedure, you might have some mild discomfort or sensitivity, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

It's essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene after scaling and root planing to prevent a recurrence of gum disease. Your dentist or hygienist will provide guidance on proper brushing and flossing techniques and may recommend a more frequent cleaning schedule to monitor your gum health.

Risks and Considerations

While scaling and root planing is a generally safe and effective procedure, some potential side effects or complications can occur. Common side effects include:

  • gum tenderness
  • mild bleeding
  • temporary tooth sensitivity

Individuals with certain medical conditions or medications that affect healing, as well as those with severe periodontal disease, may need alternative treatments or surgical interventions.

Alternatives to Scaling and Root Planing

If scaling and root planing is not suitable or effective for your situation, there are alternative treatments for gum disease such as surgical procedures or, in advanced cases, tooth extraction and replacement with dental implants.

Additionally, lifestyle changes and preventive measures, such as maintaining a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco products, and practicing excellent oral hygiene, can help prevent gum disease.

Maintaining optimal oral health is not just about having a bright smile; it's about protecting your teeth and gums. The scaling and root planing technique is a non-surgical dental procedure that promotes gum health. 

If you suspect you have gum disease or are concerned about your oral health, don't hesitate to call Taylorview Dental to schedule a consultation.