Scaling & Root Planing
The first line of treatment at Legacy West Dental is a thorough cleaning that likely will include scaling and root planing. These non-surgical treatments have multiple uses. First, they remove from the gum line etiological agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which can cause gingival inflammation and possibly periodontal disease. Secondly, they can be used as a complex or a simple preventative form of treatment. These treatments are highly common in patients with gingivitis and moderate-to-severe periodontal disease.
What Does This Treatment Entail?
Dr. Jerit Davis or Dr. Amy Sojourner-Critz will perform the scaling and root planing after a thorough oral examination, which include the taking of x-rays and a visual examination of the patient’s mouth. Depending on gum health and the levels of tartar present, depth of the pockets, and current stage of periodontitis, our dentists recommend a full scaling and root planing. Some patients may request or require anesthesia during this treatment.
The removal of calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surface is call scaling. This process directly targets the areas below the gum line and along the root of the tooth. To achieve successful scaling, our staff use a specialized tool called an ultrasonic scaling tool. This tool both loosens the plaque and tarter and irrigates the area to deliver an anti-microbial agent that reduces oral bacteria below the gum line.
The removal of cementum and surface dentin is called root planing. This treatment removes the unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar to allow the root of the tooth to begin to heal properly, effectively removing the toxins and promoting healthy soothing of the root. Root planing can prevent future colonizing of bacteria. Dr. Jerit Davis and Dr. Amy Sojourner-Critz will both recommend the facilitation of antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbial agents (mouth wash) to help limit the growth of bacteria that create toxins and lead to periodontitis.
In many cases, our dentists will place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after performing the scaling and root planing to control infections and promote normal healing. For patients with deep pockets between the teeth and gums, it may be difficult to effectively remove all the plaque and tartar. Often, it’s hard to keep the pockets clean and plaque-free. This will likely indicate that at some point a surgical procedure will be necessary to restore periodontal health.
Successful scaling and root planing have many periodontal benefits. First, they can prevent disease. Research has found that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel within the blood stream and affect many other areas of the body, even causing heart or respiratory disease. Scaling and root planing remove such bacteria. Patients with gum pockets that exceed 3mm in depth have increased risk of periodontal disease. As that depth increases over time, more and more bacteria can grow and colonize, which could eventually lead to a chronic inflammatory response in the body and cause gingival and bone tissue deterioration.
Some patients may ultimately suffer tooth loss or require tooth removal. Scaling and root planing lead to a greater aesthetic of the mouth. This treatment can help with bad breath, which occurs due to left-over food particles and bacteria growth in the oral cavity. Stains can be removed during this treatment, creating an even more beautiful smile.