Scaling & Root Planing - Phoenix

Removing Plaque & Tartar for Healthier Gums

Scaling and root planing are non-surgical procedures directed at removing the cause of gingival inflammation. This is accomplished by cleaning the dental surfaces below the gums. These procedures are most effective in patients who are suffering from inflammatory gum diseases such as gingivitis and mild to severe chronic periodontitis.

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Here are Some Reasons for Scaling and Root Planing

  • Prevent and Remove Disease: The bacteria that cause periodontal disease have the potential to travel through the body. Scaling and root planing remove these bacteria and their potential to spread.
  • Restore tissue health: Bacterial growth and chemicals produced by the bacteria irritate the gums and result in pain and inflammation. By removing these irritants, inflammation and pain are removed, and healing can begin.
  • Protect the teeth: A product of bacterial growth is calculus (tartar) and plaque. When plaque accumulates, it covers the teeth above and below the gums, hardens, and becomes calculus. Plaque and calculus do not allow for proper cleaning. Improper cleaning results in dental cavities, decay, and gum disease. Scaling and root planing remove this plaque and calculus (tartar).

The Scaling and Root Planing Treatments Involve:

Scaling – The hygienist takes an ultrasonic instrument that is specifically designed to remove plaque and calculus buildup on crown and root surfaces. This instrument is placed against the tooth and through its vibrations, removes the plaque and calculus.

Root Planing – Using specialized hand and ultrasonic instruments, your hygienist will plane (scrape) the root surfaces of your teeth. This ensures that all of the calculus and plaque are removed. This procedure allows your gums to heal.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Scaling and Root Planing

Is scaling and root planning painful?

Our dentists use local anesthesia during the procedure, so you won’t feel any pain. You may feel pressure or discomfort if you have more sensitive teeth, but most patients report little to no issues.

How many times do you need scaling and root planing?

Scaling and root planing is an effective and long-lasting procedure. You’ll typically need one- or two-yearly treatments to maintain a healthy smile. This allows for consistent deep cleaning without going over the top and irritating the gums.

Can I eat after scaling and root planing?

Wait until the local anesthesia has worn off to eat, usually around 2 hours. Stick to soft foods for the first 48 to 72 hours and chew with your teeth on the opposite side of your mouth. Scaling and root planing can increase gum sensitivity in the first several hours, so avoid alcohol, and hot or spicy foods until your gums are fully healed.

How long does scaling and root planing take to heal?

It can take up to a month or more (typically four to six weeks) for your gums to heal completely following the procedure. How long it takes depends on the amount of plaque that needs to be removed and how much pressure was placed on your gums.

What are the disadvantages of scaling and root planing?

The main disadvantage of scaling and root planing is increased tooth sensitivity. Common symptoms post-procedure include soreness and throbbing, but these are temporary and go away as the gums heal.

What not to do after scaling teeth?

Avoid hot, spicy, or hard foods following the procedure (around 48 hours). Your teeth will be sensitive, and certain foods and alcoholic beverages can trigger pain and discomfort.

Are you awake during scaling and root planing?

Yes, a scaling and root planing procedure is minimally invasive, and you’ll only need a local anesthetic to minimize pain and discomfort.