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“Deep Cleaning” is another term used for Scaling and root planing. Teeth scaling and root planning help to treat chronic periodontal disease (otherwise known as gum disease). They are more in-depth than a typical teeth cleaning. Teeth scaling and root planing often take more than one dental visit and could require a local anesthetic based on the severity of your chronic periodontal disease and if you have receding gums. Recovery from this outpatient procedure usually only takes a few days but may take longer.
When do you need teeth scaling?
Chronic periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria in plaque cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. This causes large pockets to grow between your teeth and gums, and more bacteria can grow there that you cannot reach with teeth brushing at home.
That’s why it’s key to floss regularly to reach spots that toothbrushes can’t.
If left untreated, chronic periodontal disease can lead to:
• bone and tissue loss
• tooth loss
• loose teeth
• moving teeth
Chronic periodontal disease affects nearly half of the U.S. adult population over the age of 30. Some of the reasons you may develop this condition include:
• poor dental hygiene
• changes in hormones
• poor nutrition
• family history
• other medical conditions
You may experience deep pockets between your gums and teeth with chronic periodontal disease, but there are other symptoms of the condition, including:
• bleeding gums
• inflamed, red, or tender gums
• bad breath
• shifting permanent teeth
• a change in your bite
Teeth scaling and root planing can be done at your dentist’s office as an outpatient procedure. You may need to schedule one or more appointments for the procedure depending on the severity of your condition.
Your dentist may or may not need to use a local anesthetic to lessen the discomfort of the procedure. If you are concerned about pain, discuss this with your dentist.
Your dentist will first conduct teeth scaling. This involves scraping the plaque from your teeth and in any large pockets that have developed between your teeth and gums.
Next, your dentist will do the root planing. Your dentist will smooth the tooth roots using a scaling tool. This smoothing helps your gums to reattach to your teeth.
Your dentist may also recommend additional treatment depending on the health of your teeth and gums. Your dentist may use antimicrobial agents in your mouth or prescribe oral antibiotics for you to take for several days to help you heal faster.
Traditional tools are typically used to perform the procedure, including a scaler and a curette. But there are other instruments available for teeth scaling, such as lasers and ultrasonic devices.
Laser treatment is a tissue-preserving, regenerative, and bone-building procedure. In general dentistry, the dentist uses a laser to access an infected pocket to kill the infected tissue and bacteria. Once the infected tissue is removed and the root is exposed, the calculus is removed with an ultrasonic root cleaner instead of scraping with hand tools. Lastly, laser energy is used to warm the stem cell that contains blood in the pocket, which creates a seal of tissues against the tooth root.
Laser treatment ensures that no tissue is subtracted or gum tissue is reduced to a lower level on purpose. It also stimulates stem cells in the tissues to form new connective tissues, bone, and collagen. The body’s healing process then regenerates the lost ligaments and bone around the tooth.