Scaling and Root Planing: What is It and When Do You Need It?

Scaling and Root Planing: What is It and When Do You Need It?

March 1, 2023

Scaling and root planning are terms used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. While most people know what scaling is and when it should be done, many people may need to learn the difference between scaling and root planing.

What are Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling removes plaque and tartar from your teeth, and root planning reshapes and reduces the gum’s pockets.

The procedures can be done in one visit. During the procedure, your dentist in North Port removes plaque and tartar from the gum line and smooth out any rough spots on the tooth root. This helps to remove bacteria and give your gums a chance to heal.

Scaling and root planing is often combined with other treatments, such as antibiotics, to ensure that all of the bacteria are removed and that your gums can heal properly. In some cases, scaling and root planing may be all that is needed to treat mild gum disease. More severe cases may require additional procedures, such as surgery.

When Are These Procedures Needed?

You need dental scaling and root planing if you have:

    • Deep pockets

Deep pockets are a sign that your gums are inflamed. This inflammation causes bone loss around the root surface where it occurs, leading to more space for bacteria to grow between teeth and cause an infection.

If left untreated, deep pockets can lead to cavities or periodontal disease (gum recession), both of which require scaling & root planning procedures.

    • Tartar

Tartar is a hard deposit of plaque and bacteria that can build up on your teeth. Tartar can cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis and even tooth loss.

Tartar also causes problems with your bite by making it harder for you to brush because it’s so hard compared to regular plaque or calculus (the substance that gets built up).

It also causes problems with your bite by making it harder for you to brush. Your emergency dentist in North Port may recommend scaling to remove the calculus.

    • Tooth decay

Decay is caused by bacteria that colonize the mouth, forming plaque that contains acids, sugars, and minerals. The bacteria produce acid, which causes damage to the enamel on your teeth.

Symptoms of tooth decay include a bad taste in your mouth, brittle/fractured teeth, and discoloration around your lips or tongue when you brush your teeth.

How is Scaling Procedure Done?

A scaling procedure removes tartar buildup and plaque from the gum line. Scaling can be done using a manual or an ultrasonic instrument. The ultrasonic instrument emits high-frequency sound waves that loosen and remove tartar and plaque from the teeth.

How is Root Planning Done?

Root planing is a deep cleaning technique that involves removing tartar and plaque from below the gum line. This is done to avoid or treat periodontal disease. Root planning helps to remove bacteria and debris from the teeth and gums, which can help to prevent periodontal disease.

Dr. David R. Smith, DDS, will numb the area with local anesthesia, then use a scalpel or laser to remove tartar and plaque below the gum line. The area is then cleaned with antibacterial solutions and rinsed with water. Finally, the area is sealed with a dressing or suture.

What is the Scaling and Root Planning Benefits?

When you have gum disease, your gums can pull away and form spaces called pockets. Bacteria can grow in these pockets and cause further damage to your gums and bone. Scaling and root planing can:

  • Prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
  • Your gums will be healthier because the bacteria that cause bad breath are removed from your mouth. Scaling and root planing can be uncomfortable for some patients, but it is generally well tolerated. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use local anesthesia to numb the area before starting the procedure.

How Should You Get Scaling and Root Planing?

The frequency of scaling and root planing depends on many factors, including the severity of tooth decay, the amount of plaque accumulation, and how well you brush your teeth.

Visit a dental office in North Port every six months to have your teeth cleaned. However, if there are signs of gum disease or decay in the area being treated by scaling and root planning, it may be necessary to schedule a more frequent appointment.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Shore Dental for more information about scaling and root planing and what you should expect.