Most people will book professional cleanings with their hygienist, usually at every checkup. It is a routine procedure and is excellent for keeping gums healthy, but they’ll need additional care if they are not in the best condition. Scaling and Root Planing ( SRP ) is a more thorough form of professional cleaning.
Why Is Scaling and Root Planing Necessary?
Scaling and root planing are deep cleaning procedures. It is used to treat moderate cases of gum disease where gums have begun to pull away from the teeth, creating deep pockets that soon become infected with bacteria.
Scaling and root planing clean out these pockets, reducing infection and inflammation so the gums have a better chance to heal. Once the infection is gone, the pockets should begin to shrink as the gums begin to heal and the inflammation subsides. The idea is to get your gums fit more tightly around your teeth and to eliminate these pockets. SRP is a simple, non-surgical procedure that can be very effective in reducing gum disease.
What to Expect during Scaling and Root Planing
Your hygienist at Midtown Dentistry will carefully scale or scrape away dental tartar from your teeth, much like standard cleaning, but gum disease exposes the root surfaces of teeth, and tartar will build up just below the gum line. Scraping the tartar in this area is the first step.
Next, root planing smooths the exposed tooth-root surfaces, helping to remove any infected tooth material. Smoothing the roots makes it harder for plaque bacteria to stick to the surfaces, while removing tartar enables the gums to begin healing.
SRP is likely to take longer to complete than a regular scale and polish. If the infection is quite severe, it might be necessary to anesthetize the area to keep you comfortable.
Sometimes treatment may be carried out over several appointments; generally, multiple appointments treat one quadrant or a quarter of your mouth at a time. You shouldn’t feel any discomfort during the procedure, so please let us know if things get uncomfortable.
Once the dentist cleans the pockets around your teeth, your dentist may choose to place antibiotics into the pockets to help eliminate bacteria.
What to Expect After Treatment
Your gums might feel a bit sore after treatment, especially if the infection was quite severe. You may notice your teeth feel more sensitive to temperature changes, and the gums bleed for a while.
Over-the-counter pain medication should take care of any discomfort. It might be necessary to brush more gently around particularly tender areas of gum. Instead, you may need to use a chlorhexidine mouth rinse to control bacteria and aid gum healing. A warm salt water rinse can help soothe your gums.
Scaling and root planing are carried out as part of periodontal therapy, and you’ll need follow-up visits every three or four months. It’s essential to attend these appointments as SRP will help your gums return to health, reducing the risk of tooth loss.
Dr. Jonathan Penchas will want to assess the effectiveness of treatment and take measurements to check the depth of pockets around your gums.
Will My Insurance Cover Scaling and Root Planing?
Scaling and Root Planing is an essential requirement in treating periodontal – gum – disease, and most dental insurance covers the procedure to some extent. Our patient coordinators will, on your behalf, determine what the coverage is and if you be responsible for any copayments.