If you are a regular at the dentist, you are already accustomed to the typical procedure that a routine cleaning involves: gentle scaling to remove plaque buildup from the teeth and gums followed by a quick polish of the teeth to rid them of any blemishes and to smooth them out to prevent additional plaque from attaching itself.
However, if you have developed any symptoms of gum disease since your previous visit, you might need a more in-depth cleaning, otherwise known as dental scaling and root planing.
When is dental scaling and root planing necessary?
The routine dental cleanings you are used to are intended to prevent gum disease from developing. Scaling and root planing are done to treat gum disease that has already started to evolve. Gum disease starts to develop when plaque builds up around the gumline. When bacteria starts to get underneath the gums, it causes the gums to recede away from the tooth because it has nothing to hold onto. Scaling and root planing are the first procedures that most dentists resort to in order to treat gum disease before it worsens.
How are these procedures different than a routine cleaning?
Both of these procedures often take more than one office visit to fully complete. They often require some form of anesthesia due to the swollen and painful state of the gums. First, the dentist will remove all of the plaque that has accumulated on the tooth itself. This is the scaling part of the procedure, which looks and feels very similar to the first part of a routine cleaning. Root planing, however, is a bit more involved. This is where your dentist will go below the gum line and into the deep pockets that have formed where the gums have started to pull away from the tooth. The dentist works to smooth out the roots of your tooth to aid in coaxing your gums to reattach themselves to the bone.
What are the side effects of scaling and root planing?
Naturally, you may experience some tooth and gum sensitivity for up to one week after your procedure. When you brush your teeth, floss, or eat, you may also notice that your gums will feel delicate and may be prone to bleeding.
Dental scaling and root planing are the most common procedures we see at Onsite Dentists Of Texas. Instead of opting for more surgical solutions to gum disease, we will try these noninvasive procedures first to see if that will fix the problem. Removing bacteria from beneath the gums is imperative. If uncared for, an elderly adult risks swallowing the bacteria, which will enter into the bloodstream and could cause dire consequences, like dementia and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few possible complications.