Periodontitis, or gum disease, affects nearly half of all American adults. Fortunately, South Charlotte Dentistry has a two-step plan in place: scaling and root planing.

Gum disease is the inflammation of the tissue around your gum that affects your teeth and the bones surrounding your teeth. Luckily, there are many warning signs of potential gum diseases you can look out for, including receding gums, swollen gums, loose teeth, and an obvious bad taste in your mouth.

Scaling and root planing sounds like a dangerous outdoor activity for adventurous thrill-seekers. In reality, scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning measure that helps fight back against gum disease. This is a nonsurgical procedure to treat your teeth and gums against plaque, bacteria, and tartar deposits.

While everyone experiences plaque and bacteria buildup on their teeth, left unchecked, the bacteria that lives in the plaque will eventually cause gum disease. When your gums are healthy, the tissue fits tightly around your teeth and prevents plaque from residing below your gums. Healthy gums attach to the tooth 1 to 3 mm below the gumline. When a person has gum disease, the tissue loosens, enabling plaque to fill in pockets below the gum. If pockets reach 4 mm or more, your dentist will recommend dental scaling to carefully remove plaque from below the gumline.

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

The scaling process targets the area below the gumline and along the roots using an ultrasonic scaling device and/or manual instruments to remove plaque and tartar. Scaling can also involve delivering an antimicrobial agent into the pocket to treat and reduce bacteria.

Next, root planing goes deeper to remove cementum and surface dentin, smoothing out affected root areas in order to decrease gum tissue inflammation and allow your gums to reattach to your teeth. A properly planed root surface helps fight against bacteria, tartar, and plaque while also promoting root healing.

Why should I consider this procedure?

Periodontitis causes sensitive, inflamed gums that often bleed and cause bad breath. Scaling and root planing is the best solution when a regular cleaning cannot remove plaque trapped in deep gum pockets. Left untreated, gum disease leads to tooth and bone loss. Seeking treatment early on means you will have a much higher rate of tooth-survival.

In addition, scaling and root planing can prevent other diseases! Bacteria from periodontal infections can affect other areas of the body that lead to heart and respiratory diseases. This lack of bacteria also results in better breath and a more confident, aesthetically pleasing smile.

How long does the procedure take?

To fully remove all plaque, bacteria, and tartar from your teeth and root surfaces, scaling and root planing usually takes more than one appointment to complete. Depending on your treatment plan, a moderate case may take one appointment, but most treatments divide the affected areas into sections per appointment.

Dr. Wells also requires follow-ups to ensure that the gums are becoming firm and pink again and that bleeding is reduced or completely gone. Severe cases of periodontitis may require surgical intervention, but the good news is that scaling and root planing will lessen the amount of surgery, if ultimately needed.

Will it hurt?

If you’ve attended regular dental cleanings, your dental hygienist has already been scaling your teeth and gumline regularly to remove plaque and tartar. For this procedure however, dental hygienists often administer an anesthetic to minimize any discomfort since it is a deeper, more extensive type of cleaning. Your team at South Charlotte Dentistry is happy to talk to you about your options if you experience sensitive gums or are concerned about pain during the process.

After-Procedure Maintenance

Scaling and root planing success greatly depends on continued patient aftercare. Recovery can take a few days, during which time you may experience sensitivity. We recommend a gentle toothbrush and continued gentle flossing during this time.

After recovery:

  •  Properly brush and floss, as recommended by your dentist.
  •  Replace worn-down toothbrushes.
  •  Avoid smoking.
  •  Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  •  Visit us at South Charlotte Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for routine checkups.

If your team at South Charlotte Dentistry recommends this procedure, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment. We ensure that the result is going to be a fresher, happier, healthier smile!

First visit, changing from long time dentist. Sandra was amazing at explaining the xrays and photos of my teeth and what was needed to keep my mouth healthy. Dr. Wells is warm and friendly, outstanding experience, looking forward to bringing my whole family to this practice.

Dr. Wells and his staff are a phenomenal team, delivering customized care to each individual while maintaining a relaxed, friendly & comforting environment. For someone who has had bad experiences with dental care in the past, this is definitely the office to go to! Every time I leave Dr. Well’s office, I am very satisfied with the care & attention I’ve received. They’re the Best!