Scaling & Root Planing
The objective of scaling & root planning is to remove plaque and tartar below the gumline, reducing the space between the gum and the tooth that bacteria can live in, and make it easier for a patient to keep their gums clean at home. Scaling and root planning (sometimes known as a “deep cleaning”) is usually the first step in returning a neglected mouth to health. A deep cleaning is usually done with local anesthesia to make the procedure more comfortable. Depending on the level of buildup, multiple appointments may be necessary. Scaling and root planning is for the treatment of periodontal disease that affects the gums and bones that surround teeth. Longstanding periodontal disease is the most common reason for tooth loss in adults.
Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:
- Systemic disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.
- Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease. As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria. Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.
- Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline. As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planning procedure.
- Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath). Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.
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