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A regular dental cleaning can’t reach down far enough to remove the accumulated plaque but is effective at helping to keep your gums healthy, so they don’t develop pockets. Patients that have developed deeper pocketing may need additional care to address this concern. Our periodontal team performs scaling and root planing (a non-surgical periodontal therapy) using special tools to give your gums a deep cleaning (versus a routine dental cleaning on the gums’ surface and between teeth). It is done when you have spaces between your gums and teeth and under the gumline from gum disease.

Removing Plaque and Calculus

Gum disease is created by bacteria buildup (plaque) that has hardened (calculus) and is inflaming your gum tissues. While daily brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings help prevent this plaque buildup, if any of those factors are neglected, your gums may require conventional periodontal therapy (scaling and root planing) to restore healthy gums. It is especially true if your gums have been allowed to pull away from your teeth to form pockets. These pockets then create a space where more plaque can become trapped, and as your gums keep receding, you can face both bone and tooth loss.

Catching gum disease early is another reason to attend your routine dental cleanings. But once your gum pockets develop to a certain depth, scaling and root planing may be required. It can oftentimes help patients who have mild to moderate periodontitis. Our periodontal team has the training, focus, and experience to prevent, diagnose, and treat gum disease.

Scaling and root planing uses deep cleaning to remove damaging plaque and has two parts.

Scaling: This is where we get rid of hardened plaque sitting above and under your gumline, cleaning the pocket where plaque collects.

Root planing: This is done to smooth out your exposed tooth roots, taking out any cementum or dentin that has microorganisms, toxins, and calculus.

The treatment expectation for most patients is to help your gums to reattach to the teeth again. These treatments typically take a couple of visits, and you may be given a local anesthetic to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. For some patients, additional surgical care may be needed.

Scaling and Root Planing Post-Care

You will need to maintain good oral hygiene at home to keep gum disease from recurring. Your at-home care, coupled with in-office dental cleanings, is the teamwork your teeth and gums need to be healthy and strong. Avoid using tobacco of any kind as it prevents your gums from healing. To promote healing, consume plenty of vitamin C from citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens as well as vitamin B-12 from dairy, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. Your gums will thank you!

If you have any issues with your gums, the sooner you treat them the better. We welcome you to give our team a call to answer your questions or concerns and schedule scaling and root planing treatment. We look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy!