Bacteria are always growing and forming around our teeth and under our gums. Much like “barnacles” on a pier, these bacteria start to form calcified deposits on the roots of teeth that lead to periodontal disease. Recent studies now link periodontal disease to many other health issues such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
Scaling and Root Planing is the treatment for patients with active periodontal disease who have areas of infection and present with calculus above and below the gum line (seen on xray), in conjunction with bacteria that contributes to bone loss, mobility, deep pocketing (5+mm), inflammation and increased bleeding.
The patient may be prescribed full mouth scaling and root planing, or it may be localized to one or more quadrants. Our hygienists typically anesthetize (numb) an area of the mouth to get under the gums and remove all the bacteria (“barnacles”) deposited on the roots of teeth. This treatment may take several appointments to focus on each area of the mouth needing treatment. In some cases, a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar, which can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort as compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.
Following treatment of scaling and root planning, patients are then put onto a periodontal maintenance routine, typically every 3-4 months to maintain their oral health.