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 Often Do I Need Root Scaling & Planing?
When the teeth and gums are in good overall health, with no indication of infection, dental cleanings can occur twice a year. Scaling and root planing are considered deep dental cleaning. They are necessary when gum disease has progressed to cause pockets around certain teeth. Because these pockets involve the migration of bacteria below the gum line, there is a greater risk of reinfection. To work against this risk, your dentist or hygienist may recommend scaling and root planing as a quarterly treatment. Every situation is unique. Our team develops a personal treatment plan for every patient based on their particular needs.
How Long Does It Take For Gums To Heal After Scaling & Root Planing?
After the scaling and root planing procedure, the area we have treated may feel slightly sore or tender for some time. Tooth sensitivity may also occur. This can last up to six weeks, but usually begins to improve after a week or two. To help your gums heal as quickly as possible, you may do the following:
- Brush your teeth gently twice a day and floss every day to prevent new plaque buildup
- Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth to reduce the temporary sensitivity after treatment
- Talk to your dentist or hygienist about the value of a topical fluoride gel
Is Scaling & Root Planing Worth It?
Scaling and root planing are absolutely worth it! These aspects of a deep dental cleaning are a necessary part of treating periodontal disease. If not addressed appropriately, gum disease can spread from the superficial layers of the gingiva to deeper layers of gum tissue, including the periodontal ligament that stabilizes teeth. Scaling and root planing are corrective and preventative at the same time. They remove harmful bacteria from the tissue surrounding the root of a tooth or teeth, potentially preventing infection from developing on that surface. These techniques can also stop bacteria from invading the deeper structures beneath teeth, where infection could compromise stability. Advanced gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss. When one tooth is lost, there is a higher likelihood that surrounding teeth may loosen, as well. Scaling and root planing are the gold standard treatment to prevent this from happening.
Does Tooth Scaling Whiten Your Teeth?
A deep dental cleaning that includes scaling and root planing can whiten your teeth to some extent. Your teeth may look lighter and brighter after your cleaning because the hygienist has removed plaque and tartar that are inhibiting light from thoroughly reflecting off your enamel. That said, as beneficial as dental cleanings are, the amount of whitening that is accomplished is limited. If you want to achieve a dramatic improvement in the brightness of your smile, talk to your dentist about teeth whitening treatment. This process can be conveniently done at home over the course of a few weeks, revamping your smile a little each day until you’ve reached your desired shade.
Do You Need to Take Time Off After Scaling and Root Planing?
There is no need to take time off to recover from your scaling and root planing treatment. The procedure can take 60 to 90 minutes, after which you are free to go about your day as usual.
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.
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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…
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
Contact Dr. Bankhardt and Dr. Casey Patterson 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.