Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing

268647_origWhat is Plaque?

You may have heard the word, but do you know exactly what it is? Plaque is an ugly yellow-gray substance that covers the teeth over time regardless of how good our personal oral hygiene is. It is composed of bacteria that accumulate on a matrix of proteins and polysaccharides. Once this hardens into tartar (or calculus) it cannot be removed by brushing and flossing.

Regular brushing and flossing play a crucial part in the prevention of any periodontal problems. This is because it takes 24 hours before minerals in the saliva like phosphorus and calcium, start hardening the plaque.

Because plaque is mostly formed where the tooth and gum meet, bacteria can start affecting the gums, and they may bleed when you brush. If you do not treat the infection, the bacteria penetrates deeper between the gums and the teeth in places where no brush or floss can reach. They will continue to grow and eventually cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, and can also start affecting the tooth root which is not protected by enamel.

What is scaling and root planing?

Scaling is the first step in removing dental plaque below the gum line. Dr. Samuels will use instruments like ultrasonics, scalers and curettes to clear the teeth and the gums. The process used to be known as deep cleaning because of the depth of this procedure.

Once the plaque has been removed, the roots are then “sanded down” or planed to prevent bacteria and plaque from sticking to the root in the future.

Key points of the process

Dr. Samuels will begin with an electric ultrasonic device. This device vibrates at a frequency that dissolves the plaque/tartar. The air bubbles generated by the vibration destroy the bacteria. Bacteria are anaerobic and will explode in the presence of oxygen. Hand instruments are used afterward to remove the remnants.

Is it over after scaling is completed?

In most cases, or if it is done regularly yes. In more serious cases, it may be necessary to further disinfect the tissues with the use of a chlorhexidine solution which will be absorbed by the tissues and remain effective for quite a while.

To help the tissues heal faster Dr. Samuels may opt to use site specific antibiotics. Those are placed inside the periodontal pockets and designed to be released over time. Their purpose is to destroy any bacteria that may have infiltrated deeply into the tissues and not cleaned away during the cleasning process to help the tissue re-establish its bond with the teeth.

scallingSpecial cases

Periodontitis may have been caused by other factors like diabetes, genetics or a compromised immunity system. It may also be caused by certain prescribed medications. If your case falls into one of these categories then collaboration with your family doctor may be necessary to coordinate and carefully plan your treatment.

How effective is all of the above?

If the procedure is done by a skilled and experienced dentist, then the results will be excellent. However, it is most important that you continue to take care of your teeth and comply with your dentist’s instructions, otherwise the disease will re-appear. The tissues will take some time to heal completely, so you must not neglect your oral hygiene, especially for the time right after the deep cleaning.

Remember that bacteria always exists in the mouth. Both good and bad bacteria. No matter what you do and bad bacteria will keep coming back to destroy the tissues. This  makes it imperative that you remove the plaque regularly.

To book your assessment or scaling and planing appointment, call Dr. Samuels today at (203) 742-1027. With the right care, your smile will be white, healthy and strong.

Office Hours

Monday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm

Our Location

Lighthouse Dental Care

88 Ryders Lane
Stratford, CT 06614

Phone: (203) 742-1027
Fax: (203) 380-8390