What is the Purpose of Scaling and Root Planing?

Woman at the dentistryWhen gum disease reaches a chronic stage, it can alter the fit of your gums. Your teeth may look elongated, which can be alarming. But they haven’t stretched—the gums around them have loosened. This creates a baggy effect known as periodontal pockets. When you have pockets, you make it even easier for bacteria to form at the gum line and destroy your teeth.

Once you’re at this point, it’s essential that you have scaling and root planing before something more dire is needed, like pocket reduction surgery. Also known as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing happens in two phases. First, the existing pockets are cleaned using either ultrasonics or hand instruments. Since it’s so important that all the plaque deposits at the gum line be eradicated, our dentists in Northridge often likes to combine both the ultrasonic scanner and hand instruments for a more precise touch. The two can be used to check each other’s work, so to speak. We may also use lasers.

In the second phase, the dentist smooths the tooth roots to make it more difficult for bacteria to adhere. This is also done with a combination of digital and analog equipment.
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How Scaling and Root Planing Works


Scaling and root planing is a conservative treatment method required in resolving periodontal disease. It is a type of deep cleaning that can work alone or together with surgical treatments to stop the progression of the disease and help heal the gums. Our dentist in Northridge may recommend a scaling and root planing if you have mild, moderate or severe periodontal disease.

During the procedure, the gums are separated from the teeth, and the periodontal pockets are thoroughly cleaned. The roots are then smoothed to make it harder for bacteria to attach to them. Removing the plaque and tartar both above and below the gumline can significantly reduce the bacterial load in your mouth. These substances irritate the gums and can cause sensitivity to the tissue that can eventually separate from the teeth. This forms periodontal pockets, which can accumulate even more debris and buildup.

By cleaning the pockets thoroughly, the gums are able to reattach to the teeth. The infection can be better managed, and the progression of the disease can be stopped. In early stages of gum disease, a scaling and root planing may be all that is needed to correct the problem. In later stages, we may recommend a combination of additional treatments or therapies, such as antimicrobial therapy or pocket reduction surgery. Call us today to find out more or to schedule an appointment with our expert in scaling and root planing in Northridge.