Scaling and Root Planing

What is Scaling and Root Planing? 

Scaling and root planing is an extensive cleaning that is required to remove the causative factors in the swelling and inflammation of gum tissues.  By definition, a regular cleaning is a preventative measure, meaning it is done periodically to prevent gum disease.  Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning performed in situations when gum disease exists. 

How does scaling and root planing differ from the regular cleaning I’m used to?

For the most part, a regular cleaning is performed on the part of the tooth at and above the gum line.  In an individual with gum disease, the gums swell.  This results in the formation of periodontal pockets that cover more of the tooth surface than would be covered in an otherwise healthy situation.  The cause of the swelling, bacteria and debris lying beneath the gum line, must be removed for the gums to return to normal size and health.  Local numbing agents are used for comfort during the procedure. 

How do I know if I need a deep cleaning?

The biggest indicator that a deep cleaning may be necessary is swollen, uncomfortable gums that bleed when you brush.  However, a comprehensive periodontal exam should be performed before accessing the need for a deep cleaning rather than a regular cleaning. 

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