The objective of scaling & root planning is to remove agents which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone. Common agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and tartar (calculus).
These non-surgical procedures which cleanse the periodontium (the tissues surrounding and supporting teeth), work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (gum inflammation) and moderate/severe periodontal disease.
Reasons for scaling and root planing
Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:
Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.
Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease. As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria. Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gum and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.
Esthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gum line. As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planning procedure.
Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath). Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.
What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?
Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth. Dr. Prilutsky will take X-rays, conduct visual examinations, and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.
The scaling and root planing treatment is usually done under local anesthetic numbing.
This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments, including an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool removes tartar and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces. In many cases, the scaling procedure includes an irrigation process that can help reduce oral bacteria.
Following these deep cleaning procedures, the gum pockets may be treated with antibiotics. This will soothe irritation and help the gum tissues to heal quickly. LASER treatment may be recommended as well to further reduce bacterial presence and remove diseased tissue from the gum pockets.
During the next appointment, Dr. Prilutsky will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed. If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.
If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask Dr. Prilutsky.