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Root Planing and Scaling: Why Deep Cleaning Is Important

By William Stofer on December 23, 2014


A woman at home on her couchAt Dental Solutions here in Warsaw, we are pleased to provide patients with the best in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry treatments that improve dental health and make smiles more beautiful. This means aesthetic and wellness need to go hand in hand, and the fundamentals of treatment are often a key part of optimal dental care.

One common treatment for ensuring lasting dental health is root planing and scaling. These are dental treatments that involve the removal of plaque and tartar deposits down at the gumline. The process is also known as deep cleaning. Let's go into the basics of this treatment right now.

What is root planing and scaling?

Many think that root planing and root scaling are the same thing, but they are actually two separate acts performed as part of the deep cleaning process.

  • Root scaling is the process of scraping away of the plaque and tartar deposits along the tooth structure
  • Root planing is the process of removing any damaged or decayed parts of the tooth structure and then smoothing down the tooth structure after this is done

Why is root planing and scaling performed?

Root planing and root scaling are performed in order to treat or prevent tooth decay at the gumline and gum disease. Even if you brush and floss regularly, this will not necessarily be able to remove all of the tartar and plaque that's built up at the gumline area. Only professional care will be able to effectively remove this unwanted matter around your teeth and gums.

The Difference Between Deep Cleaning and Regular Professional Cleanings

Some people think that deep cleanings are the same thing as the traditional polishings you undergo during a routine checkup. This is certainly not the case. Regular dental cleanings are rather thorough for what they are, but they are not as focused as deep cleanings. During a deep cleaning procedure, special scraping tools are used in order to remove the plaque and tartar and make sure your teeth are totally clean.

Why Root Planing and Scaling Is Performed on Just Part of the Mouth

During a root planing and scaling procedure, patients will only have one-quarter to one-half of their mouth treated. This done for two reasons.

For one, the deep cleaning process will require local anesthetic. If local anesthetic were used on the whole mouth for treatment, this would make eating, speaking, and other activities during the rest of the day very difficult. Performing deep cleaning on just part of the mouth is more convenient and more sensible.

Another reason for breaking up treatment is time. A root planing and scaling treatment can take an hour or two to perform. A full treatment of the entire mouth could take considerable time to perform, making it inconvenient and impractical for the patient and the dentist.

What to Expect During Root Planing and Scaling

During root planing and scaling treatment, patients can expect to sit back as the dentist and the dental hygienist carefully scrape at the teeth. If the patient has any anxieties about treatment, sedation methods can be used in order to keep the patient in a calm and relaxed mental state.

What to Expect After Root Planing and Scaling Is Completed

After the root planing and scaling procedure, patients will notice some tenderness and sensitivity of their gums. The anesthetic will wear off over the next few hours. Avoid eating hot or cold beverages in order to prevent undue sensitivity, and be sure to brush and floss gently at night to prevent discomfort.

Schedule a Consultation at Dental Solutions

If you would like to learn more about root planing and scaling and why it may be an ideal option for you and your needs, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The entire team here at Dental Solutions looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile.

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