Deep Teeth Cleaning
The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove etiologic agents such as dental plaque and tartar, 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?
Dr. Friedman will only recommend scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and a visual examination. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, our hygienists may perform scaling and root planing. In some cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.
When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with hand instruments and a special dental tool called an ultrasonic instrument.
Root planing is performed in order to remove bacteria, unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed, which promotes healing of the gum tissue, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
Antibiotics (such as locally placed Arestin ) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, your hygienist may place this antibiotic in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. 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 our hygienists to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, a referral to a periodontist 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 exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more 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 from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity.