What is Dental Scaling and Root Planing?

Plaque that is left undisturbed (not brushed or rinsed) on the teeth too long builds up and becomes hard calculus. Essentially, the better the individual brushes and flosses, the less plaque will build up. However, for many people, calculus develops and must be treated. Calculus is so hard and cannot be removed from the teeth with normal brushing and flossing and will need to be eliminated through a process of dental scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing, also known as a “deep cleaning” is done below the gum line used to treat gum disease.

Do You Need Dental Scaling and Root Planing (Or a A Deep Cleaning)?

Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria. Since bacteria forms constantly in your mouth, the longer the teeth go without being brushed, the more plaque will build up and the higher the chance will turn to calculus and that you will need dental scaling and planing at some point. If the gum disease is caught early and has not damaged structures below the gum line, then a regular professional dental cleaning will get your teeth in good order. However, if the pockets between the gums and teeth are too deep, you may need scaling and root planing.  

In 2015, the Journal of the American Dental Association published a study that stated scaling a root planing was beneficial to patients with gum disease that has advanced past gingivitis (chronic periodontitis). Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States—which could include you!

How to Prepare for Your Deep Cleaning Appointment
Preparing for your scaling and planing appointment is much like any other dental cleaning for most people. However, if you are on blood-thinners, (or other medications) you should inform the dentist prior to the treatment, so your condition may be assessed. Likewise, some patients need to take anti-biotics before dental procedures. Be sure to speak both with your dentist and your medical doctor if you have special conditions that could affect the procedure of your overall health. It is always a best practice to have all medical conditions and medications disclosed to your dentist, so we can ensure your treatment is safe and effective for you.

Following Your Appointment

After your deep cleaning appointment, your gums may be sore. Avoid hard foods, sugary drinks and candies. Very cold and very warm liquids may make your teeth and gums more sensitive. Take an over-the-counter pain killer for any discomfort and brush especially gently before bed. Most patients report their mouths feel back-to-normal after one or two days. 

If you would like more information about the scaling and root planing procedure, (sometimes called a “deep cleaning”) contact our Tempe, AZ dental office, Alameda Dental Care today. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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