Deep Teeth Cleaning

The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove etiologic agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or a preventative measure. They are commonly performed for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease.

What Do the Procedures Entail?

Dr. Kraft and the hygiene specialists will only perform scaling and root planing after a complete examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and a thorough gum evaluation. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present and the amount of bone loss, Dr. Kraft may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure for patient comfort.

An animated illustration showing the process of scaling

Scaling:

When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed with special technique and instruments. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. The scaling tool usually includes an irrigation process that can be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help reduce oral bacteria.

An animated depiction of a root planing procedure

Root Planing:

Root planing is performed in order to remove unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar on the root surfaces of the teeth. This procedure of cleaning and smoothing the root promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.

Dr. Kraft may recommend antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. Consequently, gum surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.

Benefits of Treatment

If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal and overall health benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing procedures remove bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.

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