What Exactly Is Scaling and Root Planing?

Keeping your teeth clean on a consistent basis is a fundamental principle of good oral health. It’s also the main goal of attending a routine dental cleaning at least once every six months. However, sometimes, you need to clean more than just the tops (crowns) of your teeth to keep your smile healthy. At our Kansas City, MO, dental office, we can help you determine when you might need periodontal cleaning, or scaling and root planing, to address bacteria buildup underneath your gums. This buildup is the precursor to gingivitis – the first stage of gum disease – and deep cleaning is the only way to effectively remove it.

The difference between dental and deep cleaning

The point of professional dental cleaning is to consistently remove the accumulation of plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from your teeth and gums. Regular dental cleaning, which you should attend at least twice a year, involves carefully but thoroughly removing all traces of plaque and tartar from the visible surfaces of your teeth. Doing so helps prevent the bacteria that form plaque from harming your teeth and gums. However, bacteria can sometimes work their way underneath your gum line and onto the roots of your teeth, in which case regular dental cleaning won’t be enough to remove the threat to your smile.

How scaling and root planing work

Scaling and root planing is often referred to as deep cleaning because it involves cleaning the roots surfaces of your teeth that rest deep underneath your gums. To clean these surfaces, your dentist has to carefully expose the roots and gently remove the plaque and tartar buildup, which is known as scaling. Once the bacterial films are removed and your teeth roots are cleaned, your dentist will polish their surfaces, or plane them. This will make it more difficult for oral bacteria to form plaque and tartar on them in the future.

Signs that you need periodontal cleaning

When bacteria settle underneath your gums, the irritation and infection they cause is known as gingivitis. This condition involves inflammation and redness in your gums, as well occasional bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth. If you notice these or other signs, or if your dentist discovers them during your routine dental exam and cleaning, then you may be a good candidate for scaling and root planing. The sooner you receive treatment, the better chance you’ll have at avoiding more serious gum disease.

Learn more about scaling and root planing

When you show signs of gingivitis or gum disease, scaling and root planing may help you protect your smile. To schedule a consultation with us, call Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry of Kansas City, MO, today at 816-897-4288.