Scaling And Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a method of treating periodontal disease when pockets are greater than 3 mm.  Scaling is used to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gum line. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort.  Using an instrument called a Cavitron (an ultrasonic cleaner), the hygienist carefully removes plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket.  The tooth’s root surfaces then are smoothed or planed.  This allows the gum tissue to heal.  It also makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces.  It is usually done in multiple visits, and may involve one to all four quadrants of the mouth.

Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric toothbrush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.

At a follow-up appointment, Dr. Kiel will check on how the gums have healed and how the periodontal pockets have decreased.  When pockets persist after treatment, additional measures may be needed.  Periodontal surgery may be suggested to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean.

After scaling and root planing is completed and your gums have healed, a regular “perio maintenance” program is important to keep your gum tissues free from recurring infection. Dr Kiel will recommend a 3-, 4- or 6-month maintenance schedule, based on your stage of disease and the response of your gum tissue.  Excellent and attentive home care is also important to prevent disease progression.

Non-surgical treatment requires a coordinated team approach, but the results are well worth the effort.

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