What to Expect During the Root Planing and Scaling Procedure By Louis Buono on July 07, 2015

A smiling woman sitting in a dental chair, waiting for treatmentUntreated gum disease can lead to major oral health issues, but it doesn't have to. In many cases, gum disease can be easily treated with the root planing and scaling procedure. General dentistry treatments, like root planing and scaling, can improve oral health by removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria that have accumulated below the gum line. Find out what to expect during the root planing and scaling procedure in this overview from Long Island dentist Louis J. Buono.

The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure

Root planing and scaling is a relatively simple procedure used to deeply and thoroughly clean the teeth, down to the roots. Root planing and scaling treatment is one of the most effective ways to remove debris, and close the pockets that develop between the gums and teeth as a result of plaque and tartar build-up.

Before treatment begins, the gums are numbed with a local anesthetic. Once the gums are sufficiently numbed, a special metal scraping or ultrasonic tool is used to gently remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. The ultrasonic tool may be used to remove large pieces of tartar while the metal scraping tool is more commonly used for fine detail cleaning. A water irrigation system is used throughout treatment to rinse away debris.

Patients with large pockets between the gums and teeth may require small antibiotic fibers to be placed after treatment to prevent gum infections during the healing process. After about seven days, the gums are generally healed enough for the fibers to be removed.

After treatment, the gums may feel sore and tender. Most patients feel back to normal within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually suitable for relieving discomfort after treatment; however, aspirin-based medications should be avoided, as these can lead to bleeding issues.

Why Undergo Root Planing and Scaling Treatment?

Root planing and scaling is one of the most effective ways to treat mild to moderate gum disease by removing damaging tartar and plaque. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to major oral health problems, such as:

  • Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis: Gum disease begins as mild gingivitis but if untreated it can progress in to a more severe stage called periodontitis. Periodontitis often requires more invasive treatments.
  • Tooth decay and tooth loss: Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth decay and eventual tooth loss. 
  • Abscesses and pus leakage: Gum disease can lead to painful, pus-filled abscesses around the tooth roots. Sometimes the pus will leak out of the gums.

Keep Your Gums Healthy after Treatment

Though root planing and scaling is highly effective at treating gum disease, without proper after care, gum disease can return. The number one way to keep gum disease at bay is to practice proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing for a full two minutes at least twice a day and, most importantly, flossing at least one a day, everyday. Flossing is often skipped, but it's our biggest weapon in the fight against gum disease because it removes plaque along the gum line and between the teeth where brushing can't reach. Additionally, be sure to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings.

Find Out if You're a Candidate

If you suffer from gum disease, you may benefit from root planing and scaling treatment. To find out if root planing and scaling treatment is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buono.

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Louis J. Buono, DDS

Garden City Smiles Louis J. Buono, DDS

Dr. Buono has been providing leading smile care to his patients in Garden City and Long Island for over 30 years. He is proud to be affiliated with: 

  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry 

You can request a consultation with our dentist by filling out our online form or calling (516) 294-0375.

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