Scaling And Root Planing Simi Valley, CA
Scaling and root planing is a treatment usually performed during the early stages of periodontal disease to help remove plaque and tartar that has built up beneath the gum line. This procedure is considered a deep cleaning, and may be performed to prevent the disease from progressing to a more advanced stage, or to improve the quality of a patient’s tissue before surgery.
The Scaling And Root Planing Procedure
During the scaling part of the procedure, an instrument called a scaler is used to scrape away any plaque or tartar that has built up beneath the gums. Plaque often develops in pockets that form between the teeth and gums. As the disease progresses, these pockets grow, which may cause teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
After the scaler has removed the plaque and tartar, the treated area is rough and uneven. Root planing smooths the root of the tooth so that the gums can heal and reattach to the tooth properly. Anesthesia or sedation may be used during this procedure. Antibiotics or irrigation with antimicrobials may be prescribed to help prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth.
There is little-or-no pain associated with this procedure, and patients can resume their regular activities immediately afterward. Medication may be prescribed to address any post-treatment discomfort. After the scaling and root planing procedure, patients should practice proper oral hygiene in order to prevent pockets from reforming.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Unlike diseases that simply rear their heads one day, gum disease gives you plenty of warning. Healthy gums are bubble gum pink and firm. They don’t bleed when you brush and floss. By not keeping up with your home care/oral hygiene and skipping your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with Dr. Bankhardt, your gums will likely start to become red and irritated. This is a sign that plaque is not being removed effectively and is making its way under the gumline. This is the first stage of periodontal disease — gingivitis.
Gingivitis is one of the first signs that tells you it’s time to step up your oral hygiene. Gingivitis is easily reversible by simply brushing diligently for at least two minutes twice daily and flossing once a day. The other key factor is keeping up with your professional cleanings and exams at least every six months.
That’s all you need to do, and you should be able to avoid gum disease your entire life. It just takes some attentive oral hygiene!
Is scaling and root planing painful?
Not at all, Dr. Bankhardt and his hygienists use a local anesthetic and a topical anesthetic in the areas where they need to perform the scaling and root planing procedure. This keeps you comfortable throughout the entire procedure. When you return home, your gums may be somewhat swollen, they may feel a little tender, and they may bleed. This is a normal response to having work done below the gumline. Over-the-counter pain medication is usually all you need. Dr. Bankhardt and his hygienists will also likely recommend an anti-bacterial oral rinse/mouthwash to help keep your mouth clean.
What happens after root scaling and planing?
Your gums have been irritated because the plaque on your teeth that is normally removed by brushing and flossing has been allowed to remain and it has turned into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing or flossing but needs to be removed by a professional hygienist with specialized dental instruments. If it isn’t removed, the tartar begins to push under the gumline. The scaling and root planing procedure removes this tartar so your gums can heal and return to their normal, healthy state.
What now? Your gums will be tender and sensitive for a few days. Without the tartar under them, your gums will now slowly, over a short period of time, attach back down to your tooth roots. That’s what the root planing is for — to remove the tartar and smooth the root surfaces so that the gums can adhere to them once again.
If you’ve had these signs of early gum disease and have needed scaling and root planing, it’s likely that Dr. Bankhardt and his hygienists will want to see you on a maintenance schedule, probably once or twice between your twice-yearly visits. These will be simple checks to keep an eye on how your gums are doing.
Will my gums grow back after scaling and planing?
The gums don’t really “grow back” because they didn’t really lose mass. The gums instead return to a healthy state. In most cases after Dr. Bankhardt and his hygienists perform scaling and root planing, the patient’s gums become firm and pink again. The gums tighten back down onto the roots. With continued attentive hygiene they will stay that way.
Is root scaling necessary?
Yes! When tartar has pushed under the gumline in your mouth, scaling to remove these deposits is absolutely necessary. You are now in the second stage of gum disease, the first stage being gingivitis. But gingivitis is only “gum irritation.” When tartar builds up under the gumline, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. Where this happens, bone loss occurs and pockets form. These pockets are breeding grounds for bacteria. Infection will likely follow, and your breath can become very bad. The infection will attack the bone and gum tissue holding your teeth in place, and your teeth will begin to loosen and then, potentially, fall out.
The bottom line here? If you don’t take care of your gums with scaling and root planing at this point, your future will be lost teeth, jawbone deterioration, and eventually implants with crowns or bridges and/or full dentures.
That’s not a path anyone wants to head down…
Contact Dr. Bankhardt at (805) 584-1194 or fill out a Contact Form here to schedule a root scaling appointment. We serve patients from Simi Valley and surrounding areas, including Chatsworth, Moor Park, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and Northridge.