Victoriapark Dental

What is scaling and root planing?

Plaque that hardens on teeth turns into tartar, also called calculus. Once there, it can't be removed with just brushing and has to be taken off by a dentist or dental hygienist.

Plaque on your teeth is a home to bacteria that thrives on the foods you eat and drink. This bacteria contains toxins that create gingivitis. Gingivitis is infection that produces swollen, red and bleeding gums. If the build-up of plaque is not removed, it will gradually lead to gum disease. If any gum disease exists, the gums will start to recede or shrink back from the teeth, creating spaces for more dangerous plaque and bacteria to collect.

If you have gum disease, plaque has already begun to collect under the gum tissue and near the roots of your teeth. Accessing and removing bacteria with a regular toothbrush is impossible and a deep cleaning is the only way to get rid of it. This is called periodontal cleaning and the treatment is called scaling and root planing.

Scaling and root planing requires a dental hygienist to scrape away plaque and tartar on your teeth that has become trapped and is hidden under your gum tissue, next to the roots of your teeth. This can be done by the hygienist scraping with a dental instrument or using an ultrasonic tool that vibrates to more easily break up the plaque.This treatment takes a bit more time than a regular cleaning, so you may choose to do it all at once or complete half of the treatment in one appointment and the other half at another time.

To reduce any discomfort, the hygienist may use a local anesthetic to numb the area and ensure the treatment is comfortable for you.

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Why get a deep cleaning?

A deep cleaning is usually recommended if you have moderate or severe gum disease to remove the tartar and bacteria collecting under your gums. It may also be recommended if you have the early stages of gum disease, as a deep cleaning can often effectively treat and rid you of the problem, provided that following treatment you also maintain your teeth well at home. If more advanced gum disease exists, a deep cleaning may be performed prior to surgery.

If a deep cleaning is recommended by a dentist or dental hygienist, it is extremely important to have this treatment performed if you want to stop gum disease. Left untreated, the bone that supports your teeth will be damaged and your once healthy teeth will loosen and then fall out.

We want to help you control and prevent any infection and disease, and help you to correct any damage caused by gum disease.

Risks

There are a few risks associated with scaling and root planing, but we still strongly recommend that this procedure is done to prevent other even more serious dental issues.

A successful scaling and root planing treatment will eliminate inflammation and your gum disease should go away. Sometimes, when your gums have stretched to accommodate that bacteria, when they are now clean underneath, they can shrink and pull away from the teeth. Depending on how severe the initial inflammation was, this can mean that even more gum recession might occur. If gums recede, it can also increase the sensitivity of your teeth to temperature.

Scaling and root planing can be somewhat uncomfortable, and there are rare complications that may cause gums to be painful, bleed or become swollen.

Existing conditions may increase the risk of developing an infection, such as heart problems, impaired immune systems, major surgeries or if you have artificial body parts, such heart valves or hips. You may be required to take antibiotics following the procedure to ensure there are no complications.

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