Scaling & Root Planning, often called deep cleaning, is considered the basic treatment of periodontal diseases and may be the only treatment required to treat mild cases of periodontitis; however, it may also be the initial therapy prior to future surgical needs.
Plaque and tarter that sits on the teeth provides an environment, which allows bacteria to thrive and multiply. The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. The condition becomes more noticeable when you brush your teeth or sometimes when you eat. These are signs of the early stage of gingivitis. Gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scaling and polishing the teeth. If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress and the roots will need a planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of the dental tartar from the tooth surface Root planing is the process of smoothening the root surfaces and removing the infected tooth structure.
As a non-surgical procedure, scaling and planing is performed under local anesthesia, in the dentist’s office. While the procedure is usually painless, deep scaling and root planing is usually broken down into two quadrants of the mouth per appointment. This allows for adequate healing time, and reduces the time for each appointment.
For the scaling & root planning procedure to be considered effective, the patient must be able to be maintained at a level of periodontal health that will prevent reinfection with periodontal pathogens. This requires optimal home care and ongoing periodontal maintenance therapy, usually every 3 to 4 months to sustain health.