Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontitis is one of the most common oral health conditions in the U.S. Fortunately, with proper care, gum disease is treatable. For many of our gum disease patients, we perform a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing at our Tempe, AZ, office. At Value Dental Centers Tempe, we work diligently to prevent conditions such as gum disease. Your periodontal health is closely tied to your overall health, and periodontitis can have a negative impact. Through deep cleanings, we can restore your periodontal health and prevent the development of other serious conditions.

What is the Difference Between a Dental Cleaning and a Deep Cleaning?

Regular dental cleanings are designed to remove small amounts of bacteria and plaque from healthy gums. Healthy gums have shallow pockets between the gums and teeth. With proper at-home brushing and flossing, buildup in these areas is minimal. With regular dental cleanings twice each year, this buildup is removed to keep your gums healthy. If you don’t brush or floss properly, or you skip your regular cleanings, gum disease can develop.

As gum disease advances, the normally shallow pockets between your teeth and gums expand. Tartar and bacteria collect in these pockets and require specialized tools for removal. The focus of scaling and root planing is to remove the large deposits of tartar and bacteria from these pockets. Once the pockets have been cleaned, the area is smoothed or “planed”. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to stick to those areas.

When Should I Schedule a Deep Cleaning?

If you notice any changes in your gums, you should schedule an appointment right away. With early treatment, we can restore your periodontal health and prevent tooth loss and other negative effects of gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red and/or swollen gums
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth
  • Sensitivity in one or several teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose feeling in one or more teeth

What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing Treatment?

We use local anesthetic and gentle techniques to ensure your deep cleaning is pain free. Your dentist will scale your teeth with a specialized scaling instrument. The scaler removes the tartar and bacteria from the pockets in your gums. Once the scaling is complete, your dentist will smooth your tooth roots with a root planing instrument. Smoothing the roots of your teeth makes it more difficult for bacteria to collect there.

You might see some additional swelling or sensitivity in the days following your treatment. This is temporary and can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication. We recommend patients avoid foods and beverages that are very hot or cold along with spicy foods to avoid irritation.

How Should I Care for My Teeth after a Deep Cleaning?

After your deep cleaning, your dentist will provide you with detailed after-care instructions. These instructions will include proper techniques for brushing and flossing your teeth and gums. Scheduling and keeping appointments for regular dental exams and cleanings is a crucial element to your periodontal health. Following your scaling and root planing treatment, your dentist may recommend that you schedule three to four exams and cleanings per year. Unfortunately, for patients who have gum disease, just two cleanings per year is often not enough to maintain their periodontal health.

The health of your gums is important to the health of your teeth and your overall health as well. Inflamed gums can lead to inflammation in other areas of the body. Gum disease has also been linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease and lung disease. With proper professional and at-home care, you can maintain your periodontal health and prevent the development of such conditions.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you are showing any signs of gum disease, contact Value Dental Centers Tempe today to schedule your appointment.