What Are Scaling and Root Planing?
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 on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.
Your doctor will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of your mouth, which may include taking X-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of your gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, your doctor may recommend scaling and root planing. In most cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.
Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing
If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal 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 remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
- Another benefit of treatment is protecting 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 gum 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 in the oral cavity.