How Much Do You Know about Scaling and Root Planing? If you have recently been diagnosed with gum disease then Dr. Jonathan Penchas might have recommended a treatment called scaling and root planing (SRP). So what is this treatment, why is it necessary and how frequently must it be carried out?
Most people will book professional cleanings with their hygienist, usually at every checkup. This is a routine procedure and is great for keeping gums healthy, but if they are not in the best condition they’ll need additional care. SRP is a more thorough form of professional cleaning
Why Is Scaling and Root Planing Necessary?
Scaling and root planing can be thought of as a deep cleaning. 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 cleans out these pockets, reducing infection and inflammation so the gums have a better chance to heal. Once the infection is removed, 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 eliminating 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 a normal cleaning, but gum disease exposes the root surfaces of teeth, and tartar will build up just below the gum line. All the tartar in this area has to be scraped away. 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 normal 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, and one quadrant or quarter of your mouth will be cleaned at a time. You shouldn’t feel any discomfort during treatment, so please let us know if things get uncomfortable. Once the pockets around your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, your dentist may choose to place antibiotics into the pockets to help eliminate bacteria.
What to Expect after Treatment
It’s possible 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. Any discomfort can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication, and you’ll be given advice on when to brush and floss. It might be necessary to brush more gently around particularly tender areas of gum. Instead, you may need to use chlorhexidine mouth rinse to control bacteria and aid gum healing. A warm salt water rinse can help soothe your gums.
Scaling and root planing is carried out as part of periodontal therapy, and you’ll need follow-up visits every three or four months. It’s important 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 will take measurements to check the depth of pockets around your gums.