Root Planing and Scaling: Why Deep Cleaning Is So Important

Jul 21, 2014 @ 10:29 AM — by Lauren Shanard

An older couple at home smiling on the couchHere at Contemporary Dental Arts, we believe in comprehensive dental care. That means making sure every patient who comes to our Williston practice receives the best treatment possible, whether it involves advanced restorative dentistry to improve overall dental wellness or the latest in cosmetic dentistry that enhances overall smile aesthetics.

One particular treatment that is very helpful but also misunderstood is root planing and root scaling. Let's go over the basics right now.

What is root planing and scaling?

Also known as deep cleaning, root planing and root scaling are dental procedures that help remove deep-set plaque, tartar, and matter that is lodged at the gumline. This differs from a regular dental cleaning, in which the teeth are polished using an electric brush. During deep cleanings, special scraping tools are necessary to really clear away the deep-set plaque and tartar and make other necessary adjustments to tooth structure.

Why Root Planing and Scaling Is Performed

Root planing and root scaling allows dentists to clean that hard-to-reach space where the tooth root and gum tissue meet. Deep cleaning is a crucial procedure in the prevention and treatment of gum disease as well.

What is the difference between root planing and root scaling?

Many people think that planing and scaling are the same thing, but they are actually two separate actions that are integral for successful deep cleaning treatment.

  • Root Planing: Root planing is the removal of damaged or infected tooth structure around the gumline and root and the smoothing out of the treated tooth structure
  • Root Scaling: Root scaling refers to the removal of the tartar and plaque from a tooth's surface with the use of a special dental scraping tool

Ideal Candidates for Root Planing and Scaling

The best candidates for root planing and root scaling are people who have issues with plaque and tartar, particularly at the gumline. Patients who notice the early signs of gum disease (e.g., discolored gums, sore gums, bleeding gums) are also good candidates for root planing and scaling.

The Deep Cleaning Process

During the deep cleaning procedure, only a quarter or half of the patient's mouth is treated at a time. The patient is first administered local anesthetic. This helps reduce pain and discomfort during the deep cleaning process. The dentist and hygienist then use special scraping tools to remove the plaque and tartar.

Overall treatment time will vary from patient to patient based on their needs. Rest assured that such matters will be discussed during the consultation process. A patient may have tender or sensitive teeth and gums for a day or so after the deep cleaning, though they should continue to brush and floss as instructed, doing so gingerly in those days after the procedure.

Why is deep cleaning only performed on one portion of the mouth?

When local anesthetic is administered, it will last for the rest of the day. This would make things rather inconvenient for patients if they were to have their entire mouth treated with local anesthetic. To cut down on overall treatment time during one session and for the convenience of the patient being treated, only half or one quadrant of the mouth will be treated.

What to Expect During Future Deep Cleaning Treatments

Additional deep cleaning sessions will be similar to the initial deep cleaning session, with local anesthetic carefully used and so forth. Patients can expect similar treatment times and recovery, and will notice a cleaner and healthier mouth as a result of deep cleaning.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment

If you would like more information about root planing and root scaling and why it may be the ideal option for your dental care needs, we encourage you to contact our dental care center today. The entire team at Contemporary Dental Arts looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve the best dental health possible.

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