When you hear about an unfamiliar dental procedure, it’s normal to feel intimidated. For example, if you just found out your teeth need scaling and root planing, you might cringe just thinking about the words. In reality, this procedure is relatively painless and extremely beneficial for your mouth’s health. What is scaling and root planing? Keep reading to learn more about this process and take the fear out of the unknown.
What Is Scaling and Root Planing?
The Purpose of Scaling and Root Planing
Dentists and oral hygienists use scaling and root planing to remove plaque and hardened tartar above and below the gum line. The procedure’s goal is to reduce signs of inflammation caused by the early stages of periodontal disease.
In mouths with periodontal disease, the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to separate from teeth, allowing large pockets to grow underneath the gums. These pockets harbor even more bacteria, which you can’t reach at home with a toothbrush. This can eventually affect your jaw bone as well and result in loose or missing teeth. To make matters worse, periodontal disease can also cause bad breath and tender, bleeding gums, and experts associate this condition with heart disease and diabetes (source). Luckily, scaling and root planing can significantly reduce the likelihood of periodontal disease spreading.
About the Procedure
If you need scaling and root planing, you can typically expect to make multiple trips to your dentist’s office. Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, it could take anywhere from two to four office visits to stop the disease’s progression.
Before beginning the procedure, your dentist will numb your gums with a local anesthetic. This makes the entire experience relatively pain-free.
The nonsurgical treatment involves the use of a piezo scaler, which is similar to a laser. Using this tool, your dentist will carefully remove the hardened plaque from underneath your gums. During the procedure, your dentist will also apply fluoride to help your mouth heal faster.
Once the numbness wears off, your gums will probably feel a little tender. For the next couple of days, be extra gentle when brushing and flossing your teeth and stick to consuming soft foods.
Periodontal Disease Prevention
Although scaling and root planing are relatively painless procedures, you can take steps to avoid the hassle and save money. For starters, practicing good oral hygiene can prevent periodontal disease. Make sure to floss regularly using traditional floss or a water flosser to prevent plaque buildup. Eating a well-rounded diet will all the nutrients your mouth needs to thrive can also prevent this disease. If you smoke, quit. This unhealthy habit puts you at a much greater risk of developing periodontal disease.
If you develop periodontal disease despite your best efforts, don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes factors that are completely out of your control can cause periodontal disease, like genetics, hormone fluctuations, aging, and health issues. If you receive regular checkups from your dentist, he or she can detect the disease in its earliest stages and use scaling and root planing to stop the progression. Finally, do your part to spot the early warning signs of periodontal disease. If you notice that your gums bleed often and feel tender or your teeth begin to shift, notify your dentist.
What is scaling and root planing? If you’re still wondering, the best person to talk to is your dentist. And if you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!