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Root Planing and Scaling: Deep Cleaning Treatment Options

By Dr. Silvers on January 29, 2015


A woman smilingPatients in and around Harrisburg visit Silvers Family Dental Care because of our commitment to comprehensive general dentistry services to fight gum disease and tooth decay. In addition to regular dental checkups, root planing and scaling (aka deep cleaning) are an important part of optimal dental treatment. Let's consider the basics right now.

What is root planing and scaling?

Root planing and scaling is a type of dental procedure in which a special scraping tool is used to remove tartar and plaque deposits that have formed down at the gumline. Any decayed or compromised tooth structure is also smoothed down so that the tooth is free from areas on which bacteria can cling and congregate.

How does root planing and scaling differ from a regular dental cleaning?

A traditional dental cleaning uses an electric brush to polish the teeth as well as floss to clean between the teeth. Some scraping is done during a regular dental visit, but it is certainly not to the same degree that occurs during a root planing and scaling treatment.

In essence, the traditional cleaning doesn't get as deep down at the gumline and is not as thorough either.

Is root planing and scaling necessary?

Root planing and scaling is often recommended for many patients, particularly as they get older and the effects of aging take their toll on the teeth. You can reduce your need for root planing and scaling treatment by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups.

What to Expect During Root Planing and Scaling

During root planing and scaling, patients are given local anesthetic. The deep cleaning process is only performed on one-quarter to one-half of the mouth, with an additional session required for further treatment.

Patients will sit back and undergo the planing and scaling treatment, which lasts roughly an hour to two hours. Thanks to modern techniques and anesthetic, the process is free from major discomfort.

Why are multiple sessions needed?

There are two reasons why the treatment is split into multiple sessions (generally two when possible).

For one, the local anesthetic will last for a bit after treatment. If the whole mouth were treated with local anesthetic, it would make eating, drinking, and speaking quite difficult. Treating just part of the mouth allows patients to carry on with fewer hassles through the day.

Another reason has to do with the time required for treatment. If the whole mouth were treated in one session, it could take a considerable amount of time that would be inconvenient for the patient and the dentist as well.

What to Expect After Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

After root planing and scaling has been completed, patients can expect their gums to feel tender, though this will typically just last for a day. Patients should consider eating soft food and drinking liquids that are lukewarm in order to avoid discomfort. Patients should also brush and floss as they normally would, but they should do so gently and tenderly.

Schedule a Consultation at Silvers Family Dental Care

For more information about root planing and scaling and how you can get a smile that looks its very best, be sure to contact our family dental care center today. At Silvers Family Dental Care, we will be sure to provide you with ample information about all of your dental care needs.

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