Associates of Dental Arts
Dr. Gregory Kivett

Scaling and Root Planing

When Do I Need Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing helps restore your oral health if you are suffering from the gum disease gingivitis (an early stage of periodontal disease). Routine dental cleanings along with regular brushing and flossing will remove tartar (or calculus) and help prevent gingivitis. However, if a buildup of calculus occurs and bacteria begins to spread, you will experience damage to your teeth, gums and (if left untreated long enough) the jaw bone holding the teeth. Once the bacteria gets into the bone, there is a risk of you losing teeth! As bacteria begins to affect the gums and causes gingivitis, the gums will pull away and create pockets around the teeth. If you have gingivitis or more advanced periodontal disease you may experience sore or bleeding gums and should see a dentist right away to avoid further damage and expenses.

How Does Scaling and Root Planing Work?

Scaling and root planing involves using an ultrasonic tool to remove the calculus and smooth the teeth around the root. This will reverse periodontal disease by allowing the gum tissue to connect back to your tooth. Your teeth will usually be numbed with a local anesthetic. It is best if you are in good health and have not had recently had major surgery for scaling and root planing to have maximum effectiveness. The dentist will go over your health history and discuss sedation options before the surgery.

What Happens After Scaling and Root Planing?

After the procedure, it is critical that you continue to practice good oral health habits after the procedure to avoid relapses or complications. This means that you need to diligently keep the areas clean and free of food and debris or bacteria will be able to enter into the pockets around the teeth before the gums have a chance to re-attach. Extra flossing and brushing will help ensure proper healing. You will also want to avoid tobacco products to help with healing. The dentist may recommend an oral rinse containing chlorhexidine to help fight bacteria and reduce the risk of infection. In some cases, for your doctor may prescribe antibiotics after your scaling and root planing procedure.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease contact Associates of Dental Arts in Joplin for an exam and protect your smile.