Scaling (aka: tooth scaling and root planing) is a procedure for professional deep dental cleaning.
When is scaling mandatory?
Some people complain of gum-related symptoms that include:
- Red, painful and inflamed gums.
- Gums that easily bleed.
- Appearance of pockets between your teeth.
- Foul breath.
These symptoms require a quick visit to the dentist who will examine you thoroughly evaluating:
- Your general health.
- Your oral health.
- If you have tooth stains, tooth decay or tooth loss.
- Check for misaligned teeth or improper bites.
- And finally dental X-ray for root and bone diseases.
According to your diagnosis, your dentist will determine the best line of treatment for your case. In most of the cases, tooth scaling and root planing are one of the non-surgical choices!
Steps of scaling
It doesn’t require special preparations, it’s an in-office procedure. But it requires local anesthesia to decrease the pain of the scaling procedure. Your dentist may start with dental cleaning to remove the plaque or tartar. It is not a treatment for the gum disease but it helps improve the condition.
Then your dentist proceeds to the scaling procedure where he/she starts scraping all plaque and tartar above and below the gum-line then smoothening of tooth surface to remove bacteria and also allowing the gums to reattach to clean teeth surface.
Some steps are required after scaling to disinfect periodontal tissues from harmful bacteria. These steps include oral irrigation using chlorhexidine gluconate solution that infiltrates these tissues and remain active for a while (up to 7 days). Sometimes your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill all harmful bacteria.
One of the main advices your dentist will give you is to properly brush your teeth twice daily and after every meal using a fluoride-containing toothpaste to decrease plaque and gingivitis.
your dentist will also advise you to quit smoking, eat healthy foods and visit your dentist every 6 months. And if you have any underlying cause that may be the main reason behind your gum diseases (like misaligned teeth or a crowded jaw), you have to start considering treating this cause by using braces. If the case is not treated properly with the deep cleaning, tooth scaling and root planing procedures due to certain complications (like excess loss of bone or very deep pockets) then your dentist will proceed with gum surgery to repair the extensive damages.
Early diagnosis and treatment of gum diseases, by proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits will ensure you a lifetime of healthy smiles.