Scaling and root planing, also known as conventional periodontal therapy, are dental techniques that are very commonly used. The reason for performing these procedures (usually referred to as a singular action) is to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and prevent the progression of gum diseases, such as gingivitis. Patients often notice, while brushing their teeth, that their gums bleed, and this is the first stage of gingivitis. It is at this stage that a dentist will most commonly suggest scaling and root planing, or "deep cleaning", to slow or halt the disease.
When a person is suffering from gingivitis, their gums become inflamed and infected. If the disease is not treated in time, the infection and inflammation work their way down to the roots of the teeth, and form what is known as a periodontal pocket. This pocket then becomes host to bacteria, providing them with the right conditions to multiply. If left unchecked, this eventually results in the bones supporting the teeth being broken down. This is why dentists use scaling and root planing.
Scaling is the name of technique in which the dentist cleans dental tartar from the surface of the teeth. The instrument used to perform this task is called a scaler or an ultrasonic cleaner, and it essentially uses vibrations to knock loose pieces of tartar which are attached to the teeth. Root planing is used to smooth the surface of the teeth after scaling, and it has two important consequences. First, it allows the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth, and second, it helps stop bacteria from adhering to the teeth.
The procedure, more often than not, involves only mild discomfort (although, if the pockets aren't too deep, there may be no discomfort at all), and it is one of the most effective techniques for continuing oral health.
If you're interested in learning more about Periodontal Scaling or Root Planing, or you would like to schedule a dental appointment, please call us at 409-835-6257.