Scaling & Root Planing

If you have a unrelenting case of gum disease, your dentist may recommend a dental procedure called dental scaling. This will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and help your gums regain health. The scaling process is mostly done in conjunction with a system known as root planing.

During the teeth scaling process, your dentist or dental hygienist will numb the gums and tooth roots with a local anesthesia, but teeth scaling and root planing cause mild discomfort. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use specialized tools scale down the hardened deposits of plaque buildup ( tartar ) from the teeth both above and below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing rough spots on the roots of the teeth that will promote gum disease by trapping and holding bacteria.

The whole procedure may be done in a single visit, although usually a quadrant ( 0.25 th of the mouth ) or half of the mouth is recommended per appointment. After a scaling and planing, you should expect that your gums will be numb from the anesthesia and then potentially a little tender. But if you maintain a consistent oral health routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, your gums should quickly regain a firm, healthy, pink appearance.

Be certain that your dentist or dental hygienist knows your total health history before they conduct a scaling and root planing procedure. The procedure can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream, so precautions may need to be taken to treat gum disease in people who are at increased risk for infections, for example those with heart problems, liver disease or a compromised immune system due to an illness, such as HIV.

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