What is scaling and root planing in dentistry?

EVERY time your dental hygienist scales your teeth with that hook-like instrument, you’re one step closer to a healthy, beautiful smile.

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical periodontal therapy used to treat periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria, which leads to an inflammatory response in the mouth and body. This inflammation in the mouth can cause the gum tissue to become red, puffy, and pull away from the tooth, thus forming pockets. Deep pockets are difficult to clean at home because flossing does not reach the base of the pocket and disrupts the bacteria. If left untreated, the bacteria can destroy the periodontium (bone and ligaments that surround/support your tooth), leading to permanent damage and possibly tooth loss. Your dentist and hygienist will thoroughly review your medical and dental history to determine if you have periodontal disease. They will then complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment to determine your level of periodontal health. In addition to performing a periodontal evaluation, your doctor may need a full mouth set of radiographs to evaluate your bone health and well as any other forms of pathology.

What is scaling and root planing?

If scaling and root planing is recommended for you, it is usually done in two appointments (depending on the number of teeth involved). The procedure usually consists of the use of an anaesthetic to help reduce any discomfort during the cleaning. This non-surgical therapy involves using specialised instruments to go below the gum line and remove plaque, tartar, and stain from the root surface. Your doctor will then plane the root surface to remove any toxins embedded in the cementum or dentin of the tooth. The removal of these toxins will help the tissue heal and reattach to the tooth surface. This reattachment process will decrease the depths of the pocket, allowing for easier cleaning at home and in the dental office.

What should I expect after the procedure?

After having scaling and root planing completed, your doctor or hygienist will follow up to see how you have responded to the therapy. Depending on how you respond to the initial scaling and root planing, they will determine if additional treatment is necessary. If you responded well, your doctor might recommend having periodontal maintenance cleanings with your hygienist instead of routine dental cleanings. Periodontal maintenance visits are usually recommended every three to four months, and it is crucial to follow the recommended recall. Coming in every three to four months will allow your hygienists to remove any bacteria or toxins that have formed in those pockets, helping reduce any more destruction to the periodontium. Not only are the visits to your dental professional crucial, but so is your home care. Proper home care (brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily) will also help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Gum disease can develop without warning. It is essential to follow through with regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations. A good home care routine is vital in preventing gum disease from developing. You know what to do:

• Brush with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

• Replace your toothbrush when the bristles are worn.

• Floss daily to clean between your teeth and bridgework, crowns, or implants.

• Use an antimicrobial mouthwash.

• Eat a balanced diet.

• Don’t smoke! Or stop using tobacco.

Dr Sharon Robinson’s office, The Dental Place Cosmestix Spa, is located at Winchester Business Centre, Shop #5. You can contact us at 876 630 4710 or on WhatsApp at 876 441 4872. You can also utilise our social pages via Instagram: @Dentalcosmetixspa and Facebook: DentalCosmetixspa.

Dr Sharon Robinson’

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