When excess buildup of tartar occurs below the gum line, a scale and root plane can help remove this buildup and improve the health of your teeth. Tartar has a thin layer of bacteria on it that causes inflammation in the area. This inflammation can lead to gum problems, bone recession and even tooth loss! Cleaning it out is an important part of oral health, and there is increasing evidence that your entire health could be affected by this minor infection.
What is a Scale and Root Plane Procedure?
The scaling and root planing procedure is, essentially, a deep cleaning for your teeth. Scaling will remove the dental tartar, while root planing will smooth the root surfaces. If you have gingivitis, your dentist or hygienist may perform this procedure to clean out tartar buildup and bacteria. The goal is to stop any disease progression and preserve the health of your teeth and gums.
Scaling and root planing is very different from an ordinary cleaning. A routine cleaning is preventative. Tartar, plaque and stains are removed to keep your mouth healthy and to prevent gum disease. Ordinary cleanings are normally performed twice per year. A deep cleaning is a form of treatment meant to treat gingivitis and prevent periodontal disease. If gingivitis, or mild periodontal disease, is left untreated, advanced gum disease can cause bone and tooth loss.
Who Needs a Deep Cleaning?
Unlike ordinary cleanings, deep cleanings are not for everyone. Scaling and root planing is recommended for patients with some form of gum disease – not for patients with healthy teeth and gums. Many adults have some form of periodontal disease, so it’s not uncommon for dentists to recommend this procedure. If you have gingivitis or some type of gum disease, your dentist will probably schedule a deep cleaning.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may benefit from scaling and root planing:
• Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing. Bleeding is usually caused by inflammation. Healthy gums do not bleed.
• Painful chewing. This may be caused by bacteria, or it may be a sign of bone loss.
• Loose teeth. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
• Red, tender and swollen gums. These are signs that your gums are inflamed.
• Persistent bad breath. Bad breath is caused by bacteria and plaque build-up in the mouth. Plaque build-up can lead to more advanced stages of gum disease if left untreated.
The best way to truly determine whether or not you need a deep cleaning is to get X-rays of your mouth and a thorough check up. If those X-rays reveal gum pockets that are deeper than 4 millimeters, scaling and root planing may be needed. Even then, only the affected teeth or area of the mouth should be treated.
It’s important to speak with your dentist about any concerns you may have about the health of your gums. At Ascent Family dental, we can diagnose and treat most forms of gum disease and help you get your mouth as healthy as possible. Call Ascent Family Dental today to schedule an appointment.