Root Planing

What is Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing (also referred to as deep teeth cleaning) is a dental procedure which removes plaque and tartar that has accumulated near the gumline. It also involves smoothing the roots of the teeth to reduce the size of periodontal pockets, formed between the teeth and gums, which can trap bacteria and cause decay and an increased risk of tooth loss.

How do you prepare for Root Planing?

Your dentist will recommend deep teeth cleaning if an examination has revealed signs of significant gum disease. This is a relatively simple dental procedure that does not require any major preparation, but any questions or concerns you may have prior to root planing should be brought up with your dentist.

Why is Root Planing performed?

When you don’t keep up proper brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can accumulate on the surface of your teeth, causing pockets to form between the gums and teeth. These pockets in turn can trap bacteria which is not easily gotten to during regular brushing. If left unaddressed, this can cause long-term dental issues up to and including tooth and bone loss. Scaling and root planing removes plaque and tartar and reduces the size of periodontal pockets.

What can you expect during Root Planing?

Your dentist may or may not begin by administering local anesthetic. They will begin with teeth scaling, a process which involves scraping away plaque deposits and cleaning inside any significant periodontal pockets that have formed between the teeth and gums. Your dentist will then use a scaler to smooth the roots of your teeth to allow your gums to more easily re-adhere to them. They may also use an antibiotic rinse or recommend additional periodontal procedures depending on the state of your gum health.

What is the followup and recovery like for Root Planing?

In some cases, deep teeth cleaning may require more than one visit. If the initial visit does not effectively reduce periodontal pockets, your dentist may also recommend additional dental procedures. You should resume normal dental maintenance (daily brushing and flossing) following your appointment, and your dentist will monitor your progress during subsequent checkups.

What are the potential risks for Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is a procedure which has very little risk associated with it. There is a small chance of infection, and you may be prescribed an antibacterial mouthwash to use after your appointment. You may also experience some discomfort or tooth sensitivity after your appointment, but this should abate within a few days.

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