A typical dental exam usually includes a routine cleaning, but occasionally we have to advise a patient that they require a more thorough approach to their oral hygiene. When patients have a more advanced stage of gum disease, a routine cleaning won’t be able to get into the pockets that have formed around their gums, making a routine cleaning ineffective.
For these patients, we recommend a deep cleaning, also known as a scaling and planing.
What is Scaling and Planing and Why Do I Need It?
Patients who have periodontitis simply are not good candidates for a routine cleaning. Due to the progression of their gum disease, a deep cleaning is required to remove all the bacteria and plaque built up around the gumline.
A deep cleaning may stretch out over several appointments to minimize any discomfort to the patient, as the section being worked upon may be swollen and tender in the days following the procedure.
Scaling: This is the part of the deep cleaning that removes all calculus, tartar, and bacteria from your teeth and both above and below your gumline. Scaling helps buff away the buildup, and this part of a deep cleaning can be done either manually or with ultrasonic tools.
Root Planing: This is the more intensive part of a deep cleaning. Because it might otherwise be painful, we will numb the area up with local anesthesia. We will typically work in quadrants, completing one section of your mouth per appointment. The root planing will remove a bit of your root to smooth it down and remove unwanted buildup – this will give your gums a surface to reattach to once they start to heal.
Post-procedure care may involve pain medications (such as NSAIDS), cold compresses, and antibiotics to help prevent infection.
If you’re suffering from periodontal disease, we can help you treat it and restore your teeth and gums to their former healthy glory. Please give us a call to schedule your dental exam and routine cleaning and, if deemed medically necessary, a deep cleaning with a scaling and root planing.