Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing (Deep cleaning)

Deep cleaning

If your see your dentist for a dental cleaning twice a year, then you know that this is when the teeth are getting professionally cleaned throughout all the surfaces, including areas in between the teeth and down to the gum line. However, if despite these efforts you gums show signs of inflammation, you may need a different type of cleaning – scaling and root planing, or a deep cleaning.

Why the gum disease should not be ignored?

The presence of gum inflammation usually suggests that the bacterias anchored themselves below gum line and are causing the damage to the tooth attachment.
This is a dangerous condition, because if left untreated, it can lead to a progressive loss of the bone around the teeth and eventually lead to the teeth loss. This often goes unnoticed or ignored by a person for many years because gum disease rarely causes major pain. Unlike the root canal issues, where the pain in one particular tooth could be so severe, that the patient is driven to find the dentist regardless of the time of the day (often at night), the gum disease may destroy bone attachment to all of the teeth without causing any pain at all. According to ADA, the periodontitis is the leading cause of the teeth loss among americans.

The symptoms of the gum disease

  • gum tissue that is swollen, red, easily bleeding
  • enlarge gum that pulls out of the tooth easily
  • bad smell from the mouth
  • the increasing gaps between your teeth or the teeth that are drifting
  • mobile teeth

When is scaling and root planing recommended?

Scaling and root planing is considered a gold standard for gum disease treatment by the NIH.
The first step to control the gum disease is to remove the bacterias from the tooth under the gum line. This is done with ultrasonic attachments that break down the bacterial deposits and de-plaque the teeth surfaces. After that, the teeth surfaces are planed with small periodontal scrapers that make the teeth surface smooth and slick. After the treatment, the dentist or a dental hygienist reviews the home care technique and provides the patient with the instructions. Once the scaling and root planing is done and the patient establishes sufficient home care, the scaling and root planing does not need to be repeated. In real life, however, any lapses in home care or irregular visits for routine re-evaluation and cleaning, may lead to recurrent bacterial buildup.

Is scaling and root planing an ultimate treatment for all types of gum disease?

While in many cases a deep cleaning is fully sufficient as a treatment option, in some cases it is just a beginning of the series of more specialized periodontal treatment, such as bone grafting, guided bone regeneration, soft tissue grafting or antibiotic treatment of the pockets that are resistant to the therapy.