Have you recently been told you have gum disease? If so, it is highly likely that you will hear the term “scaling and root planing” from your dentist shortly after your diagnosis. Scaling and root planing (SRP) can more easily be understood as a deep cleaning for your gums and teeth. This is typically the first line of defense against mild to moderate gum disease. Not only can a scaling and root planing procedure prevent gum disease from progressing, it can also reverse the effects that have already occurred. Without SRP, patients can suffer dire consequences such as tooth loss and overall health problems. It can also help patients avoid the need for more invasive periodontal therapies.
What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing?
To understand why scaling and root planing is so effective in treating gum disease it is helpful to understand what gum disease is in the first place. Gum disease begins when bacteria and plaque accumulate along the gum line. While the gums may become red or inflamed at first, the infection can progress over time and cause the gums to pull away from the tooth root and form deep pockets for more bacteria to accumulate. Without treatments, the gum infection can destroy surrounding bone and lead to tooth instability or tooth loss.
Scaling and root planing is designed to help. It is a non-invasive procedure that is painless for most patients. As its name implies, there are two steps involved:
Scaling: First, your dentist will use special handheld instruments as well as ultrasonic tools to scrape and loosen the calculus and hardened plaque that is present on the tooth and tooth root (just beneath your gum line).
Root planing: Next, the roots of your teeth will be carefully smoothed. This encourages the gums to reattach in a proper manner.
SRP is typically done in quadrants of your mouth. Therefore, two visits are typically required to complete a full deep cleaning. You may have temporary and mild soreness, but the lasting effects are vital to your oral health. Remember that gum disease surgery can take days to recover from and be more painful and costly. Therefore, if you’ve been told you should consider a scaling and root planing to treat your gum disease, don’t hesitate!
At the office of Dr. Mitzi Morris, we offer the most proven techniques and technology when it comes to fighting gum disease because we recognize that keeping patients free of advanced periodontal disease not only protects their smile but their overall health as well.