Scaling & Root Planing

Tooth Scaling & Root Planing

Gingivitis is a generative disease that left untreated, will cause significant tooth and gum deterioration. Just the word gingivitis can strike panic in a patient’s mind. The reality is that the treatment is simple and performed right in your dentist’s office.

Plaque and tarter that sits on the teeth provides an environment, which allows bacteria to thrive and multiply. The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. The condition becomes more noticeable when you brush your teeth or sometimes when you eat. These are signs of the early stage of gingivitis. Gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scaling and polishing the teeth. If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress and the roots will need a planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of the dental tartar from the tooth surface Root planing is the process of smoothening the root surfaces and removing the infected tooth structure.

As a non-surgical procedure, scaling and planing is performed without any anesthesia, in the dentist’s office. While the procedure is usually painless, advanced stages of gingivitis may make it necessary to numb the area for complete comfort. Deep scaling and root planing is usually broken down into one section of the mouth per appointment. This allows for adequate healing time, and reduces the time for each appointment.

Scaling and root planing, along with proper daily brushing and flossing, is effective in treating gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Scaling and root planing also is a cost effective, minimally invasive, and non-surgical way to prevent and/or treat the more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder, more easily corrected form of gum disease; periodontitis is a more serious form that progresses over a longer time. Consequences and treatment may be more involved for periodontitis.

The severity and progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease, and how well you respond to therapy, determines your treatment and who performs it.

Dental hygienists and general or family dentists perform preventive scaling and root planing, or treat cases of early stage gum disease. Additional training is necessary to treat more advanced, complex cases. In such instances, a general dentist may refer treatment to a periodontist, a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases. A periodontist receives an additional three years of post-dental school education, which includes specialized gum training and treatment methods. For example, in more severe cases, a periodontist can perform surgical treatments such as making incisions in the gums to remove hardened plaque buildup and refine the boney defects.

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