Scaling and Root Planing

Once formed and hardened, deposits of plaque, tartar, and calculus on the teeth cannot be removed by brushing the teeth. They must be removed from the teeth, above and below the gum line, by scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). This is done using an ultrasonic scaling tool which includes an irrigation process below the gums to help reduce bacteria present there.

Root planing is a deeper cleaning of the root of the tooth where bacteria is removed and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth to promote healing, allow the gum to reattach to the teeth, and prevent bacteria from easily colonizing there in the future.

The scaling and root planing procedure is performed with local anesthetic to insure patient comfort. Nitrous oxide and/or oral sedation can also be used to decrease patient anxiety. Scaling and root planing is usually needed in all four quadrants (areas) of the mouth. The treatment is completed in two appointments unless more time is necessary. The procedure may be limited to only two or three teeth in each quadrant(s) of the mouth.

An oral hygiene appointment is performed shortly after or during one of the scaling and root planing appointments. This important appointment allows one of our clinical staff members to thoroughly review oral hygiene techniques and oral hygiene aids to create an individualized oral hygiene plan to use at home.

A reevaluation appointment is scheduled five weeks after the scaling and root planing to examine the response to this non-surgical therapy and to evaluate for any further treatment. Dr. Brown and her staff sends a report to your regular dentist to inform he/she of your status so that both offices can work together to provide the best dental care.

To maintain the successful results of scaling and root planing, it is very important to have dental cleanings usually every 3-4 months depending on the severity of your periodontal (gum) disease. Dr. Brown encourages patients to alternate dental cleanings between her office and the regular dentist.

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