Dental Scaling and Root Planing for Periodontal Health

Dental Scaling and Root Planing

Dental scaling and root planing are deep cleanings that are prescribed by your dentist to help stop gum disease in its tracks. This effective periodontal treatment prevents periodontal disease from advancing and causing you serious health conditions. Though many patients would like to dismiss gum health as a low priority, periodontal disease can negatively affect not just the looks and health of your smile, but the rest of your body as well. Your gums protect the roots of your teeth and prevent dangerous bacteria from reaching your bloodstream, which is why maintaining its condition is a necessary part of preserving your overall health.  Our team at Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies is committed to keeping your smile bright now and for years to come. Scheduling a dental scaling and root planing appointment when needed will safeguard your oral health and total body wellness.


What is Dental Scaling and Root Planing?

One of the most common questions that we receive is how does a regular cleaning differ from dental scaling and root planing? They are both types of cleanings, yes, but they are very different in their approach. Dental scaling and root planing is also called a deep cleaning.

Dental scaling occurs with manual hand instruments, ultrasonic instruments or both. Dr. Murri or Dr. Willey will begin the procedure with a comprehensive examination of your mouth. Next, an ultrasonic scaling device will be used to remove the plaque bacteria with sonic vibrations. The ultrasonic scaling device removes tartar (calculus), plaque and biofilm from the surface of the tooth and underneath your gum line. Sometimes a manual instrument is needed to remove the remainder of the biofilm/plaque.

Root planing incorporates a detailed scaling of the root surface of your tooth to decrease inflammation of the gum tissue. Your dentist will “scale”–remove by scraping–the root surface to smooth out rough areas and remove plaque and biofilm development.


Why is Dental Scaling and Root Planing Necessary?

The Journal of Dental Research recently published data indicating that 47.2 percent, nearly half of the American adult population, have some form of periodontitis–the more advanced stage of periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease symptoms range from simple gum inflammation to serious damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Gums anchor your teeth to the jaw, and protect teeth roots from plaque and bacteria. Gum decay and and gum recession greatly impacts your teeth and your overall health. They are necessary when a patient shows signs of periodontal distress or disease.  Deep cleanings can halt or reverse gum disease when it is found in its early stages.  Striving for healthy gums is not just a cosmetic issue!  Gum disease can have far-reaching effects and is linked to heart disease, strokes and diabetes.


What Are the Signs that I May Need a Deep Cleaning?

If you are wondering if you are need of a deep cleaning, look for the following signs or indicators:

  • your gums are starting to pull away from your teeth
  • if the tartar has spread to the roots of your teeth
  • your gums are showing signs of persistent inflammation

If you are still unsure, call for an appointment so we can assess the health of your mouth.  Remember, it is always better to get ahead of issues. When things are small they are so much easier to fix. When you wait, things progress and treatment becomes more extensive.



What Happens During a Treatment Session?

Dental scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure done right in our office. To make you more comfortable, we administer local anesthesia to help make you more comfortable during the procedure.  Once we are certain that you are numb and the anesthesia is doing its job, we begin treatment using specialized instrument including a curette (scraping tool) or ultrasonic device to eliminate the tartar and plaque from the roots of your teeth and the surrounding gum pockets.


What to Expect After a Dental Scaling and Root Planing?

Before and after your dental scaling and root planing procedure, we will make sure that we educate you thoroughly on what to expect and aftercare instructions. Because we clean your gums and roots deeply, it is normal to have some temporary discomfort and occasional bleeding after.  Rinsing with a medicated mouthwash and continuing to practice proper dental hygiene will help to ease your symptoms and accelerate healing. You should use only smooth/soft dental floss and a soft-bristled toothbrush to help minimize any potential irritation.  If you are a smoker, keep in mind that smoking can delay the healing process. We recommend abstaining for at least a few days to give your gums time to heal.



Are There Times When Dental Scaling and Root Planing is Not Recommended?

The majority of patients that need a dental scaling and root planing are candidates for treatment, but occasionally there are pre-existing conditions that can delay your treatment. Talk with your dentist if you:

  • have a depressed or weakened immune system
  • have recently recovered from major surgery
  • suffer from heart issues and are deemed especially susceptible to endocarditis (bacterial infection of the heart valves)
  • have artificial body part(s)


Call for a Free Dental Scaling and Root Planing Consultation

If you would like to know more about the dental scaling and root planing procedure, or to find out if you need one, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-6101. For your convenience, you can also reach us after office hours by submitting an online contact or appointment request.