Laser dentistry is one of the methods the dentist can use for deep cleaning. The buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth can cause problems like tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to undergo regular dental cleaning from the dentist to keep the mouth free of diseases or infection. This article covers…
Scaling and Root Planing FAQs
When going in for a routine dental exam, the dentist might recommend scaling and root planing if they discover signs of gum disease. The treatment is done to get rid of decay and infection. For those who have never heard of the procedure, there may be some questions about it. This article contains a list of commonly asked questions about scaling and root planing and their answers to help patients prepare for the appointment.
What is scaling and root planing?
The procedure is an in-depth cleaning process to remove every trace of plaque, tartar and food debris from the teeth and gum line. Scaling and root planing helps to close the gum pockets and heal the recession caused by plaque accumulation.
When do dentists recommend the treatment?
Dentists recommend scaling and root planing for patients with gum disease. Gum disease is caused by the presence of plaque and tartar on the gums. In the early stages of gum disease called gingivitis, the gum may appear inflamed, red or swollen. Periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease, causes the gums to detach from the teeth, creating gum pockets that trap plaque and create a breeding ground for bacteria.
When pockets form and the gum starts recessing, dentists must perform this treatment to prevent complications such as bone and tooth loss.
What happens during the appointment?
Before the scaling and root planing procedure starts, the dentist will apply a numbing gel or local anesthetic to keep the patient comfortable. Afterward, they will start with the scaling process, using a dental tool to remove tartar and plaque deposits around the teeth and gums. After scaling, the dentist will smooth the roots of each tooth to stimulate gum reattachment to the teeth and close the existing periodontal pocket.
Will the scaling and root planing procedure hurt?
The local anesthetic administered before the procedure should keep pain at bay. However, patients may experience slight sensitivity and pain after the procedure ends. The dentist may recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash or pain medications that will help minimize discomfort.
How often will someone need scaling and root planing treatment?
The frequency of treatment depends on the severity of the periodontitis and how well the gums respond to the treatment. Scaling and root planing is often divided into stages – with one or two quadrants per appointment. This will reduce the amount of numbing needed and the sensitivity that patients feel afterward.
What is recovery like?
After the thorough cleaning, the teeth and gums will be sensitive for a few days. The antimicrobial rinse prescribed by the dentist will help minimize the risk of infection. In the following days, patients should avoid eating hot, cold or hard foods that may hurt the healing gums. To give the mouth some healing time, the person’s diet should consist of soft foods like mashed potatoes, soups and eggs. Also, patients must follow a strict oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing regularly to prevent the reoccurrence of gum disease.
If there are any additional questions about scaling and root planing, book an appointment with a dentist.
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