Scaling & Root Planing

What Is Scaling & Root Planing?

When gum disease is not diagnosed and confronted it can reach a point that it will require action by the dentist.  A common procedure that is performed by a dentist in the fight against gum disease is scaling and root planing.  The basic plan is to remove the plaque and tartar from underneath the infected gum line.  Next, the dentist will plane the surface of the teeth in the affected area in order to help the gums attach to the teeth again.

What Is Involved In The Procedure?

The dentist will typically begin the process with a local anesthetic.  He then employs the use of an instrument known as a scaler to remove the plaque and tarter that has built up underneath the gum line in the infected areas.  After cleaning out the gums, the dentist will plane and smooth the root surfaces of the tooth to allow the gums to quickly and easily reattach to the surface of the teeth.  Some dentists also place antibiotic fibers between the patient’s gums and teeth in order to help the healing process and reduce the possibility of infection.  If the dentist uses the antibiotic fibers, he will removed them about a week after he has done the scaling and root planing.

The use of anesthesia may cause your lips and gums to be numb for a few hours after your treatment. It will, however, make the treatment more comfortable.

Can I Avoid Scaling and Planing?

An aggressive and thorough daily oral hygiene will usually help a patient avoid gum disease. However, if gum disease begins to develop, scaling and planing is an effective way to treat the gum disease without resorting to more serious treatments.