Your teeth are covered with a sticky film called plaque that can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque contains bacteria, which following a meal or snack containing sugar can release acids that attack tooth enamel. Repeated attacks can cause the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in cavities. Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. This makes it more difficult to keep your teeth clean.
When tartar collects above the gum line, the gum tissue can become swollen and may bleed easily. This is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.
Scaling and root planning is a deep cleaning below the gum line used to treat gum disease.
Why Do I Need It?
If gum disease is caught early and hasn’t damaged the structures below the gum line, a professional cleaning should do. If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, however, scaling and root planning may be needed.
This deep cleaning has two parts. Scaling is when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gum line, making sure to clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Your dentist will then begin root planning, smoothing out your teeth roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic.
After Care Tips
After a deep cleaning, you may have sensitivity for up to a week.
To prevent infection, control pain or help you heal, your dentist may prescribe a pill or mouth rinse. Your dentist may also insert medication (subantimicrobial-dose doxycycline) directly into the pocket that was cleaned.
Your dentist will schedule another visit to see how your gums have healed and measure the depth of your pockets. If they have gotten deeper, more treatment may be needed.
Good dental care at home is essential to help keep gum disease from becoming more serious or recurring.
Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft brush
Clean between your teeth daily
Eat a balanced diet
Avoid eating tobacco
see your dentist regularly