A persistent periodontal disease is not only a threat to your tooth or teeth, but it can also lead to other health complications when it remains untreated. Although regular teeth flossing and brushing helps keep periodontal diseases at bay, it is necessary to schedule routine appointments with a dentist for extensive teeth and gum cleaning.

Scaling and root planing is one of the common extensive and deep teeth cleaning procedures your dentist will recommend during some of your usual regular appointments if you are at risk of periodontal disease. At Washington Dental, we believe healthy teeth and gums create a healthy body and a cheerful person.

Below we discuss what this procedure entails and how it helps prevent gum diseases that threaten many people's dental and oral health worldwide.

Understanding Periodontal Diseases

Before we discuss what scaling and root planing entail, you need what necessitates this gum treatment procedure. Periodontal disease or periodontitis is an infection that affects periodontal tissues of your mouth, including the gum line, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. The common cause of this bacterial infection is the build-up of tartar and plaque around your teeth' surface.

Tartar, also commonly known as dental calculus, is a soft and sticky brownish deposit that forms and sticks on the surface of your teeth or below your gum line due to microbial activities in your mouth. Tartar build-up does not only make it challenging to brush and clean your teeth effectively, but it also puts you at risk of cavities and periodontal diseases.

Periodontal disease is a typical oral health issue among many individuals, but it is a manageable disease. While in its earliest stages, periodontal disease will attack your gums, which is commonly known as gingivitis.

While it is possible to keep your teen healthy and clean through regular brushing, removing tartar build-up on the surface of your teeth and below your gum line will require special dentistry tools that can scrape it off your tooth or teeth.

When you leave this dental issue untreated, the bond between your gums and teeth will weaken and pull apart over time, leading to an open pocket and the likelihood of losing the affected tooth or teeth. At this point, you must seek the services of a dentist as soon as possible because this open pocket creates a conducive thriving environment for more dental plaque.

An Overview of Scaling and Root Planing

Although periodontal disease is a severe oral health issue to worry about, there are several ways a dentist can treat this infection to restore your ideal dental and gums health. Depending on the stage of this infection and the severity of the condition, surgical or non-surgical treatment might be necessary.

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical, effective, painless, and reliable deep root cleaning procedure for preventing or treating periodontal diseases. During scaling and root planing, your dentist or periodontist will use special dentistry tools to remove decay or tartar build-up on the surface of your tooth and below your gum line.

Depending on the severity of tartar build-up, the dentist will use special hand instruments or an ultrasonic instrument that employs vibrations to gently scrape off the tartar from the surface of your teeth and below your gum line.

Your dentist will focus on soothing and smoothening your affected tooth roots during root planing to remove any possible tartar build-up below your gum line. Root planing is vital during deep teeth cleaning procedures because the tartar build-up below your gum line prevents your gums from reattaching to their ideal position in the mouth after treatment.

Scaling and root planing prevent periodontal diseases because it is difficult for these hard unwanted substances (tartar) to adhere to your tooth root's smooth and clean surface.

How to Know You Need to Visit a Dentist for Scaling and Root Planing

A periodontal or gum disease is often painless, making it challenging for a person to notice the infection during its early stages. Here are signs and symptoms which indicate you might be an excellent candidate for scaling and root planing:

  • Bleeding gums, especially when you are doing your regular teeth brushing
  • Tender, swollen, red, or inflamed gums
  • Persistent bad taste or breath from your mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity, especially when chewing
  • Any change in your denture firmness
  • Gums that are detached away from their ideal position in the mouth or a tooth that appears longer than adjacent surrounding teeth
  • Separate or loose permanent tooth or teeth
  • Any change in your teeth alignment, especially when you bite
  • Discolored or stained teeth

When you notice the above signs, you should visit a dental clinic for a dental check-up. Often your dentist will notice some of these signs during your regular dental visits to keep dental and periodontal diseases at bay.

Hence, it is important to have a reliable family dentist in your corner to keep track of your family members' dental and oral health. A dentist who knows your dental health history will detect any emerging issues or abnormalities with your teeth or gums with ease during any dental check-up appointment.

Reasons Why You Should Visit a Dentist Often for Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

Scaling and root planing is an effective stand-alone and preventative measure to keep dental and oral health infections at bay. Here are some of the reasons why scaling and root planing is a necessary dentistry procedure:

Tooth Protection

If your gum pocket depth exceeds 3 millimetres due to bacterial activities, you might be at risk of losing the affected tooth. As the gum pocket deepens, it creates a conducive environment for more dangerous bacteria to thrive. Eventually, you end up losing your tooth because these bacteria attack your gingival and surrounding bone tissues, making your teeth weak and infirm.

Periodontal diseases are the leading cause of tooth loss among many worldwide. However, scaling and root planing can prevent this detrimental dental health issue when detected early for a healthy and bright smile.

Disease Prevention

The persistent oral bacteria that cause gum or periodontal disease can spread via the bloodstream to other parts of your body, leading to other health complications such as :

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer's disease

To halt bacterial activities in your mouth and stop this persistent gum infection, you should visit a professional and experienced dentist for a deep teeth cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. Removing tartar on your tooth surface and below your gum line stops this infection from spreading to other parts of your body, like the heart.

Improved Aesthetic Appearance of Your Smile

Apart from keeping periodontal diseases at bay, maintaining your teeth free from tartar build-up and stains also improves the aesthetic appearance of your smile. During scaling and root planing, your periodontist or dentist will remove tartar build-up and any superficial stain in your teeth, leaving them white as other adjacent healthy teeth.

Removing unwanted stains and discolorations in your teeth during scaling and root planing improves your teeth' aesthetic appearance for a brighter and confident smile.

A Better Breath

Often the most prevalent sign of a periodontal disease attack is bad breath (halitosis). The cause of this persistent and shameful lousy breath from your mouth is bacteria and unwanted food particles stuck in between your teeth.

Scaling and root planing can give you a better breath because your dentist will also remove any unwanted particle or object in between your teeth during the process for a healthy mouth.

Prevent Tooth Caries/Decay

Tooth decay or caries is typically the softening of your tooth enamel and the breakdown of your tooth structure by acidic excretes from bacteria. Apart from protecting your gums from infection, scaling and root planing can work out in your favor to eliminate these dangerous bacteria that thrive in the plaque and tartar build-up in your tooth enamel surface to prevent decay.

When tooth decay remains untreated, this persistent bacteria will spread to the inner parts of your tooth (pulp section) and attack your tooth roots, making them weak. At that point, your dentist will recommend the extraction of the affected tooth to eliminate the problem permanently.

Scaling and Root Planing Procedure at a Glance

Although signs of periodontal diseases are observable sometimes with naked eyes, your dentist may need a few X-ray pictures of the affected area to determine the extent of the infection. Examining X-ray pictures of the affected area allows a dentist to develop a targeted treatment plan that will resolve this gum health issue and give you the top-notch oral health that you deserve.

Scaling and root planing requires less preparation once you visit your dentist's clinic. Although it is a non-surgical procedure, local anesthesia injection might be necessary to numb your gums and the affected tooth roots to make the process more comfortable.

If you have a dental phobia, you should discuss your fears with your dentist to make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan to ensure the process is non-invasive and painless. Scaling and root planing involve two separate procedures as the names sound.

Scaling is the first treatment procedure your dentist will conduct to eliminate tartar build-up on your teeth' enamel surface and below your gum line, which is the main cause of periodontal diseases. Your dentist will use specialized tools like a handheld dental scaler or curettes to scrape the hardened tartar off your teeth during scaling.

Depending on the extent of the tartar build-up,  your dentist may also use an ultrasonic scaler that produces vibration to remove tartar and unwanted stains effectively without leaving any chance of reinfection.

During root planing, which is the second phase of the procedure after removing tartar build-up from your teeth, your dentist will use a specialized instrument to smoothen your tooth roots effectively. Removing the rough and uneven surfaces on your teeth makes it difficult for future bacteria attacks to adhere to your smoothened tooth root surfaces.

Root planing also allows the affected gums to reattach themselves back to their ideal position within a short time after this crucial treatment procedure for improved oral and dental health. If needed, a dentist may apply an antibiotic medication directly to the affected area to prevent any chances of bacterial infection during and after this treatment procedure.

Tooth scaling and root planing may require more than one dental appointment to eliminate the persistent bacteria entirely and effectively. Most professional dentists will recommend two dental appointments to complete the procedure.

During your first dental appointment, the dentist will treat only half of your mouth. After about a week, you should return to your dentist's clinic for treatment of the remaining half of your mouth. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, a dentist may require you to schedule follow-up dental appointments to monitor the affected area because this dangerous bacteria can return and attack your teeth and gum tissues again.

Fast Recovery and Healing Tips After Dental Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

After dental scaling and root planing, you can resume your usual duties and chores almost immediately. Since your dentist will be working on the sensitive parts of your tooth and gums, you might experience mild sensitivity and pain after scaling and root planing, which is not unusual.

Your dentist or periodontist may recommend a therapeutic mouth rinse or painkillers that can help you reduce these kinds of discomfort after scaling and root planing. Before you leave your dentist's clinic, he/she will encourage you to maintain top-notch oral hygiene habits to accelerate the healing time it takes for the affected gums to reattach to their ideal part of your mouth.

Maintaining top-notch oral health at home is also essential to prevent plaque or tartar build-up on the surface of any part of your tooth or teeth. To achieve the best desirable results after dental scaling and root planing, you should maintain optimal oral and dental health at home by:

  • Brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, but gently on the affected area of your gums
  • Rinsing your mouth with saline or salty water for at least two weeks after this dentistry procedure to keep any bacteria that could reinfect the affected area of the gums at bay
  • Buy an electric toothbrush since it can effectively remove any plaque in your tooth surface before it develops and hardens into tartar
  • Using fluoride toothpaste to harden and strengthen your tooth enamel
  • Rinsing your mouth often with gum care mouthwash (alcohol-free) to prevent gum diseases
  • Flossing in between your teeth, crowns, implants, and bridgework at least twice a day to eliminate or remove any possible plaque build-up
  • Making it a habit to eat and drink a balanced diet
  • Stop or reduce smoking tobacco products if possible
  • Scheduling regular appointments with a credible dentist to clean parts of your mouth and teeth that are impossible or challenging to clean at home

Even if you have not become a candidate for this dentistry procedure, you should observe the above helpful tips while at home to prevent tartar build-up on the surface of your tooth, which is the leading cause of periodontal/gum diseases.

This procedure is vital to keep periodontal diseases and cavities at bay, whether you call it scaling and root planing or deep teeth cleaning, as most people do.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Scaling and Root Planing

Before retaining the services of a dentist for deep teeth cleaning, most people will ask the following questions:

Are There Any Possible Risks Associated with Scaling and Root Planing?

The risks associated with scaling and root planing are minimal and manageable. Since the affected area might be at risk of reinfection after treatment, your dentist will prescribe antibiotic medications to use for at least two weeks to keep bacteria at bay.

If you experience unusual severe pain or fever after scaling and root planing, you should talk with your dentist for advice on what to do to alleviate the discomfort. Complications or risks associated with this dentistry procedure are rare and should not be the reason for not removing or scraping off tartar and stains on the surface of your tooth and below your gum line.

What is the Cost of Scaling and Root Planing?

The cost or fee you will pay for scaling and root planing will vary depending on the severity of your gum infection and the dentist you will choose to hire. Every dentist will charge differently for their services, but typically, this procedure cost ranges from $400 to $600.

Since scaling and root plan is a preventative and cosmetic dental procedure, your health insurance can cover this treatment's partial or total cost. If you don't have dental insurance coverage, your dentist may offer favorable payment plans or discounts to make this vital procedure affordable to you.

How Will My Dentist Handle Any Pain or Discomfort During Scaling and Root Planing?

Typically, scaling and root planing is a non-invasive dentistry procedure and will not cause any discomfort as your dentist is doing what he/she does best on your teeth and gums. However, to eliminate any possible discomfort or pain during these two vital procedures, your dentist may apply local anesthesia on the affected tooth and the surrounding gums.

The numbness effect of the anesthesia will last throughout the process and a few hours afterward. Since the dentist does not have to put you under sedation to make you unconscious during the procedure, you don't have to come with a friend to drive you back home after treatment.

What Happens if the Periodontal Disease is Severe?

If your periodontal or gum disease is severe, meaning it is untreatable through scaling and root planing, your dentist may recommend a procedure known as osseous surgery.  Osseous surgery is also an effective and reliable way to treat severe periodontal disease.

Also known as gum pocket reduction surgery, osseous surgery is a vital dentistry procedure that removes bacteria thriving in your gum pockets. During osseous surgery, your dentist or periodontist will cut your gums, remove this persistent bacteria, and repair damaged bones to make your gums pocket shallower.

Like scaling and root planing, your periodontist or dentist will use local anesthesia during osseous surgery to numb the affected gums and teeth to make every step of the procedure comfortable and painless.

Finding a Professional Dentist for Scaling and Root Planing

Finding a professional dentist for scaling and root planing can be a hell of a hassle because you might need the dentist you will choose for future dental exams and check-up appointments. To reduce your options and make the search less overwhelming, you should consider the factors listed below:

  • The dentist's length of experience
  • The dentist's reputation
  • The dentist's qualification and specialization
  • The dentist's accreditations
  • The dentist's location
  • The dentist's availability

Most professional and reliable dentists out there will give you a chance to schedule a cost-free consultation to discuss your dental and oral health issues. During this appointment, you should be keen to see any sign of unreliability, for example, an untidy floor. Once you notice any sign of unreliability with your prospective dentist, you should trust your instincts and find another dentist.

Final Thoughts

The mouth can be a gateway to many infections and diseases that people deal with every day worldwide. Maintaining top-notch oral and dental health is not only vital for the aesthetic appearance of your smile but is also important for your general body health. When bacteria attack your gums and the surrounding tissues, your general body health could be at risk.

Protecting your teeth and gums from infection and bacteria attacks is possible with home remedies like brushing and flossing. However, it is wise to make it a habit or routine to visit a dentist often for dental exams and check-up appointments. Periodontal disease is treatable effectively and with ease when a dentist detects it early.

Find a Dentist Near Me

At Washington Dental, we believe taking care of your oral and dental health is the key to maintaining a healthy life, free from infections and diseases. Many people believe that they do not need deep teeth cleaning, but that is untrue. Whether you have periodontal disease or not, scaling and root planing could work out in your favor to protect your gums and teeth from bacterial attacks.

Call us at 310-217-1507 to discuss your oral and dental health issues with our caring and understanding dentists wherever you are in Carson, California.