What To Expect With A Scaling and Root Planing Treatment

Male dental patient having teeth cleaned by a dentist.

Periodontal disease affects gum health and can cause teeth to decay and eventually fall out. One of the best ways to combat the effects of gum disease is through a scaling and root planing treatment. Scaling and root planing treatments use an ultrasonic device and scraping tool to remove plaque from your tooth roots and gum pockets. This type of treatment is only used when your gums show signs of persistent inflammation, tartar has reached your teeth roots or when your gums start to recede. Find out what to expect after a scaling and root planing treatment and how it can improve your oral health with this guide!

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Our teeth are susceptible to a variety of different oral health issues, specifically periodontal disease. Also known as periodontitis and gum disease, periodontal disease negatively affects your oral health as it infects the structures around your teeth, like your gums and bones. Gingivitis is typically the first stage of periodontal disease and it’s characterized by an infection of the gum tissue. In more severe cases, like with periodontitis, all tissues are affected and will need the help of a dental professional to be resolved. Periodontal disease develops due to the bacteria found in a sticky substance called plaque that forms on your teeth hours after you eat. However, it’s your body’s reaction to this infection that causes gum swelling and bleeding as the immune system releases various substances to attack the infection. Gum disease can also form due to a lack of oral hygiene and bad brushing and flossing practices. If plaque is allowed to sit on the teeth for too long, it can build up along and underneath the gum line, causing inflammation and eventual gum detachment from the teeth. The pockets that are created during this process allow for even more plaque to enter inside and continue to grow until teeth loosen or the ligaments and bones in your jaw become damaged. At this point, your oral health is in dire circumstances and you will need extensive dental treatment to repair this damage and get your oral health back to where it used to be.

What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing

When periodontal disease develops, one of the first dental reparations that you’ll receive is a scaling and root planing treatment. This treatment is recommended for those whose gums are pulling away from their teeth, when tartar has spread to teeth roots and for those experiencing constant gum inflammation. Scaling and root planing works by deep cleaning your teeth of plaque and tartar so that you gums can heal and reattach themselves to the teeth again. Scaling is the first step in this process, and it involves a curette, or scraping tool, to remove plaque above and below the gumline and all the way to the bottom of the pocket. Root planing is then performed to smooth out the teeth roots, which is what helps the gums reattach themselves to your teeth. While a scaling and root planing treatment is considered non-surgical, local anesthesia is typically administered to keep your comfortable while your teeth are deep cleaned. Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, you might have more than one scaling and root planing treatment to clean your gums of all infections. Once completed, your gums and teeth are often sore for the next couple of days, and teeth can remain sensitive up to a week after the procedure. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash and using a soft-bristled toothbrush are both great ways to ease the pain you might feel during your oral hygiene routine and will be beneficial during the gum restoration process.

How To Keep Teeth Decay-Free

Animated model of a person's teeth being flossed.

While some patients will experience gum disease as a fluke, many develop it due to bad oral hygiene practices. One of the easiest ways to prevent gum disease from occurring is by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing around each tooth. This daily habit removes sticky plaque that has accumulated on and between your teeth and safeguards your mouth from tooth decay and disease. Additionally, your nutrition greatly affects how healthy your teeth and gums are. Eating a varied diet full of vegetables, fruits, proteins and grains promotes good oral health and keeps the rest of the systems in your body functional. Lifestyle factors also increase your likelihood of experiencing decay and periodontal disease. Smoking, high levels of stress and grinding your teeth put you at-risk for gum disease and makes it more difficult for successful treatment. Smoking and stress cause physiological reactions in your body that resist treatment, and teeth grinding can break the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Lastly, regular dental checkups are essential to maintain oral health, especially if you’ve suffered from gum disease before. These visits not only involve a thorough cleaning of your teeth but will also allow the dentist to examine your gingival pockets to see how they’ve improved since your last scaling and root planing treatment. By adhering to these dental recommendations, you’ll be able to keep your teeth decay-free and happy for years to come.

Protect Your Oral Health With Our Help!

At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we use the best and most advanced tools while cleaning your teeth during a scaling and root planing treatment. Whether your gum disease is mild or severe, we can help rid your mouth of disease and get your oral health back on track. Call our office at (970) 223-8425 to schedule a consultation and get your beautiful smile back again!