Scaling and root planing are two terms that dentists use to describe what they do. But many people wonder, “What is scaling and root planing?” Scaling means scraping away plaque and tartar from teeth. Our dentists can do it with a scaler instrument or dental tool that scrapes the surface of your teeth. Root planing is when you scrape away lesions on the root surfaces of your teeth using either an ultrasonic tip or a rotating brush head, which moves back and forth over the tooth surface.
Both scaling and root planing are necessary treatments to help keep your teeth healthy. Scaling removes the plaque and tartar that can cause dental decay and gum disease, while root planing gets rid of any build-up on the roots of your teeth that might cause infection. If you don’t have either of these treatments done regularly, you’re more likely to experience gum disease, tooth decay, and even bone loss.
1. First, you will get numbing medication or anesthetic as needed to make sure you don’t feel anything during your scaling and root planing.
2. Next, the dentist will clean away any plaque on the surface of your teeth by scaling it off with a dental instrument. They use floss to brush around your gums, then place an ultrasonic device against your teeth to break up the deeper tartar that lies below the gum line. Then they scrape away this tartar with a scaler tool.
3. Roots get smoothed down so other bacteria can’t grow there in-between visits to their office. If there are patches of roughness leftover after scaling, the dentist might place a thin layer of mineral onto them using either an air abrasion unit or a fine blade.
4. At the end of your visit, the dentist will give you instructions on how to take care of your teeth at home, so you don’t get plaque back in between dental appointments.
Scaling and root planing doesn’t hurt because numbing medication is used during the process. The only time it would be necessary to use pain medication after treatment is if some areas are still sensitive to pressure or if there are irritations from possible dry sockets. If this is the case, sip warm fluids throughout the day and take ibuprofen as needed.
The frequency of scaling and root planing will depend on your dental health. Dentists usually recommend that you get these treatments every 6 to 12 months, but it might be more or less often, depending on how well you take care of your teeth between visits. Make sure to follow the dentist’s instructions for at-home oral care so you can keep your teeth healthy between appointments.
If you have any questions about scaling and root planing, don’t hesitate to contact IKON Dental Group. Our team of experts will be happy to answer any of your questions and help you keep your teeth healthy and beautiful. Please schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about our services.