Restore Gum Health with Root Planing and Scaling

Root Planing and Scaling - Honolulu, HI

Posted on Oct 13, 2016 by Dr. Rohinton J. Patel

An illustration of a tooth being cleanedKeeping the gums healthy and free of gum disease is essential to maintaining a beautiful smile. When gum disease strikes, it can lead to pockets developing between the gums and teeth, leaving the teeth vulnerable to decay and damage. Root planing and scaling is an effective treatment to close periodontal pockets and treat gum disease. In addition to root planing and scaling, restorative dentistry treatments are available to address dental damage and enhance the smile's appearance. To find out if you're a candidate for root planing and scaling, schedule a consultation with Honolulu, HI dentist Rohinton J. Patel.

What Is Root Planing and Scaling Treatment?

Root planing and scaling is one of the most effective treatments for closing pockets between the gums, which may form as a result of moderate to severe gum disease. These pockets develop as plaque, tartar, and food debris collect and build up along the gum line. As more debris, plaque, and tartar collect, the pockets become bigger, eventually exposing the roots to plaque and bacteria and leaving them vulnerable to decay. Root planing and scaling can help prevent dental damage and close pockets by deeply cleaning the teeth and removing harmful plaque and tartar build up.

What Happens during Root Planing and Scaling?

Root planing and scaling is a relatively simple procedure used to thoroughly clean the teeth and treat gum disease. During root planing and scaling, the gums may be numbed with a local anesthetic to reduce discomfort as the teeth are cleaned.

Then, a dental scraping tool, ultrasonic tool, or both, will be used to gently removed plaque, tartar, and food debris from the teeth. If necessary, the teeth will be cleaned as far down as the roots.

In most cases, root planing and scaling treatment can be performed in a single dental visit. If pockets are severe, cleaning may be split into multiple sessions. If pockets are large, antibiotic fibers may be placed after the teeth are cleaned to aid in healing and prevent infection. These fibers need to be removed by a dentist a few days after treatment.

Root Planing and Scaling Recovery and Aftercare

Although root planing and scaling is not a surgical procedure, it can leave the gums feeling tender and sore for a day or so after treatment. Most patients are able to manage discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication. With that said, it's generally recommended to avoid aspirin-based pain relievers as these can lead to issues with bleeding.

In addition, patients should avoid eating hard foods, crunchy foods, foods with small seeds, and popcorn for a few days after treatment as these can irritate the gums or food particles could become lodged between the gums and teeth. During and after recovery, it's important to take good care of the teeth and gums to prevent gum disease and pockets from developing again. You can help ensure the health of your smile after root planing and scaling by practicing these tips:

  • Brush the teeth for a full two minutes at least twice a day
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Schedule regular checkups and cleanings

Schedule a Consultation

To find out if root planing and scaling is right for you, or to discuss other treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patel.