Treating Gum Disease with Root Planing and Scaling

Aug 7, 2014 @ 09:00 AM — by Byron Wall

A woman with a healthy smileThough a little bleeding during brushing and flossing may seem like nothing to be concerned about, it is a sign of gum disease and should not be ignored. Bleeding during brushing and flossing is one of the early signs of gum disease and, if left untreated, can lead to major oral health problems, including tooth loss. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can repair the damage of gum disease. Root planing and scaling can help reverse gum disease and restore oral health. Albuquerque dentist Byron W. Wall offers this explanation of root planing and scaling treatment.

The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure

Root planing and scaling is a treatment used to deeply clean the teeth well below the gum line to restore gum health. Root planing and scaling becomes necessary when tartar and plaque have built-up to the extent that it causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This separation, called a pocket, allows for more plaque and tartar to settle between the teeth and gums, causing the gums to pull further and further away. If left untreated, the gums may pull away to expose the tooth roots, eventually leading to tooth loss and jaw bone infection. Root planing and scaling is highly effective at eliminating pockets and restoring gum health.

The root planing and scaling procedure is relatively simple. There are different techniques for root planing and scaling but the general procedure is the same. Treatment begins with numbing the gums to ensure patient comfort and reduce pain. Once the gums are numbed, a special scraping tool or ultrasonic tool is used to scrape plaque and tartar off of the teeth, down to the roots. Generally, ultrasonic tools are used to remove large pieces of tartar or calculus. Hand tools, called scalers and curettes, are also used to do more detailed cleaning. Debris is washed away with water.

For those in the early stages of gum disease, root planing and scaling treatment can generally be completed in one treatment. Severe gum disease sufferers may require multiple treatments to fully clean the teeth. Antibiotic fibers may be placed between the gums and teeth to aid in healing and reduce gum infection while the pockets close. If antibiotic fibers are placed, an additional dental appointment will be needed so the fibers can be removed by the dentist. 

Scaling and Root Planing Treatment Aftercare

Aftercare is important to the success of root planing and scaling treatment. Though root planing and scaling can help eliminate gum disease, if proper oral hygiene is not maintained, gum disease will return. You can help make your root planing and scaling treatment successful by practicing the following oral health tips:

  • Brush for a full two minutes at least twice a day, everyday. When brushing, be sure to thoroughly brush the gum line to reduce calculus and tartar buildup.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing.
  • Don't skip regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

Schedule a Consultation

Don't let gum disease go untreated! Schedule a consultation with Dr. Wall today.

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