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The 411 On Scaling and Root Planing

Healthy breath

Have you just been informed that you need a scaling and root planing? This may sound intimidating; however, it is simply a “deep cleaning” that is designed to get your early gum disease under control. In fact, since we know that gum disease can pose a serious threat to both your oral health and body health, you should welcome the opportunity to reverse this condition with a deep cleaning from your dentist.

What is scaling and root planing?

A scaling and root planing is performed by your dentist. It is a deep cleaning that can remove stubborn plaque and tarter from beneath the gum line, something that your toothbrush can’t do. Plaque is a colorless yet sticky film that can accumulate and harden over time. Plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) contain bacteria that can multiply beneath the gum line and cause an infection. Without treatment, this infection can eventually destroy the surrounding tissues and bone, resulting in tooth loss.

What happens during a scaling and root planing appointment?

Your deep cleaning begins with a local anesthetic to protect your comfort. Scaling is done with specialized handheld tools and ultrasonic cleaners to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. Root planing, the second component of your procedure, is when the surfaces of the tooth roots are smoothed, which inhibits bacteria growth and also encourages the gums to reattach. Typically, one-quadrant of your mouth is deep cleaned per visit.

When is scaling and root planing recommended?

Red, puffy, or irritated gums are the first signs of early gum disease, also known as gingivitis. Patients typically experience bleeding gums when they brush their teeth at this stage. You may even notice that your gums have started to pull away or recede. To prevent further formation of deep gum pockets (which harbor more bacteria), a deep cleaning or scaling and root planing is recommended.

What is the recovery process like?

You can expect some slight soreness around your gums for the first 2 to 3 days after your deep cleaning. You may even be sensitive to hold and cold foods and drinks. A minimal amount of bleeding is normal in the first week after treatment, but always inform your dentist if you are concerned. A special mouth rinse may be given to prevent infection.

If you are questioning the health of your gums, schedule an appointment at Salt Run Family Dentistry. We offer a full menu of periodontal therapies, including scaling and root planing, pocket elimination surgery and tissue regeneration. Your gums are the foundation of your smile – keep them healthy!

Salt Run Family Dentistry
Salt Run Family Dentistry

700 Anastasia Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080
(904) 924-3540
Monday – Friday 7 AM – 5 PM