Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and Root Planing Overview
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The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that will include scaling &/or root planing and oral hygiene instruction.They are the cornerstone of the initial/cause related therapy that all patients must go through.
The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove etiologic agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, (which cause gingival inflammation and disease) from the root surface /under the gums.
Often scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, &/or a preventative measure particularly in cases of gingivitis and moderate-to-severe periodontal disease.
What does scaling and root planing entail?
We will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, Dr. Kiven will recommend an appropriate course of scaling and root planing/cause related therapy. In some cases, local anaesthesia may be used during the procedure.
When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool usually includes an irrigation process that can be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help reduce oral bacteria.
- Root Planing:
Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed,usually with fine hand instruments, which promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily recolonizing in the future.
Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control infection/ regrowth of bacteria that cause periodontal disease and so encourage healing.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for the professional to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Furthermore patients can find it extremely difficult if not impossible to keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to facilitate access/removal of deposits from the root surface and so restore periodontal health. Often this decision cannot be made until cause related therapy has demonstrably failed to control your periodontal problem
Benefits of Scaling & Root Planing Treatment
If treatment is successful, scaling and 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 blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.