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Deep Cleaning

Scaling and Root Planing

bone resorption because of tartar

When a patient has bleeding gums or gum pain there is more advanced gum disease and has tartar deposits below the gum-line that are irritating the tissue and causing inflammation, the supportive jawbone that supports the teeth starts to recede. This process is not reversible and it important to catch early to stop it.  The treatment that is needed to top the progression of gum disease is called scaling and root planing and is also know as deep cleaning. This is a process of tediously cleaning tartar from below the gum-line in placed that it cannot be seen, only felt.  The gums are anesthetized or deadened and special equipment is used to gently remove the tartar from the root surfaces below the gum-line and smooth the root surface of the tooth so that the gums can reattach.

Scaling and Root Planing Before and After

On the left there is tartar above the gums and the gums are swollen and rounded and darker in color. This roundness is because of swelling due to the chronic infection causing inflammation and the redness is also because of the inflammation and infection. On the right, the tartar is removed, the gums between the teeth and much more pointed up between the teeth and more pink. The gums are healthy on the right.

Scaling and root planing procedure

Special ultrasonic tools remove tough tartar with ease

Special ultrasonic tools remove tough tartar with ease

The scaling and root planing procedure from the patient perspective is simple. You may have sedative such as nitrous oxide that numbs the senses. Also, many times the gums are anesthetized by the dentist so that there is no pain or sensitivity associated. The hygienist or the dentist will then use special equipment to remove the tartar from the teeth above and below the gum-line. The patient may have a sensation like the teeth are being traced around with a pencil, or there may be no sensation at all. Water and sometimes an antibiotic medication called Chlorhexidine is used with the ultrasonic equipment to flush out the tartar and associated bacteria. On average, each quadrant or quarter of the mouth will take about 30 minutes to fully clean. Once the tartar is removed, instructions are given to complete the process at home with proper home-care follow up. Healing usually begins immediately with some soreness over the first 24 - 48 hours. Full healing is realized after 4 weeks and a follow up should be scheduled to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.

scaling and root planing risks

Risks associated with scaling and root planing procedure usually have to do with the large amount of bacteria that may enter the blood stream during the process of removal. When the tartar and gums are disturbed, the diseased gums which bleed easily are among the bacteria causing problems for people that have had a joint replacement, or the heart surgery traveling through the bloodstream and attaching to these areas that are more prone to infection. If a patient has had a history of a joint replacement implant or a heart surgery, an antibiotic protocol must be used to reduce the change of infection in the area of the joint or heart surgery site.