About Scaling and Root Planing
Typically, the primary treatment for the beginning stages of periodontal disease is a deep, professional gum and tooth cleaning called scaling and root planing. The goal of this nonsurgical procedure is to remove any toxic debris (such as dental plaque, tartar, and calculus), which may cause gingival inflammation and gum disease. Scaling and root planing may be performed as a stand-alone treatment or as a preventive measure. This treatment is often used in cases of gingivitis, as well as moderate to severe periodontal disease.
What Does it Entail?
Dr. Ramirez will perform scaling and root planing after completing a thorough examination of the mouth. This examination typically includes x-rays and visual assessment of the teeth and gums. Treatment will be recommended based on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis. In most cases, local anesthesia is used during the procedure, and the treatment is performed in stages.
Calculus and plaque, two common buildups that attach to the surface of the teeth, are removed during scaling. This process specifically targets the area just below the gumline along with the root. The treatment is performed with a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaler. The tool often includes an irrigating process that delivers an antimicrobial agent beneath the gumline, helping to reduce bacteria.
Root planing removes cementum and surface dentin that is typically embedded in the teeth and gums among unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar. During this process, the root of the tooth is smoothed to promote healing and prevent bacteria from easily growing in the future.
The NobelPerio team may recommend a course of antibiotics or irrigation with antimicrobials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) to help control the future growth of bacteria that cause periodontitis. In some cases, Dr. Ramirez may place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after scaling and root planing to control infection and encourage normal healing.
When the pockets between the teeth and gums are too deep, it is difficult for our team to completely remove tartar and plaque. Additionally, patients in these situations can seldom keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Surgery is often required in these instances.
The Benefits of Treatment
If treatment is successful, scaling and root 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 bloodstream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing removes bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss, as when gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. This is due to the ability of bacteria to more successfully colonize in deep pockets, causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body and destroying tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing can deep clean the teeth and gums, making them more aesthetically appealing and reducing bad breath caused by food particles and bacteria lodged in the oral cavities. Superficial stains can also be removed during scaling and root planing, adding to the final result.