Root Planing and Scaling: Important for Fighting Cavities and Gum Disease By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on November 11, 2015

Root planing and scaling (aka deep cleaning)Nordhus Dentistry is a leading dental care center in Wichita, offering patients the latest in cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry, with a focus on beautiful smiles and healthy mouths.

While advanced aesthetic and restorative therapies are important, the basics are always essential. With that in mind, we'd like to discuss an often misunderstood dental treatment: root planing and scaling.

What is root planing and scaling?

Also known as deep cleaning, root planing and scaling is special dental procedure that helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. During root planing and scaling treatment, a dentist uses special scraping tools to remove plaque and deposits of tartar from the teeth, getting all the way down to the gumline.

Plaque is the biofilm that oral bacteria creates in order to remain on the surface of a tooth, and in the process making tooth decay more likely. Tartar (aka dental calculus) is a hardened version of plaque, which forms when the plaque is not properly or fully cleaned from a tooth. Even people who brush and floss regularly may have trace amounts of tartar. Root planing and scaling is the best solution for a healthy smile.

How does root planing and scaling differ from traditional dental cleanings?

Deep cleanings and traditional cleanings during a checkup are not the same at all.

During a routine cleaning, dentists and hygienists will floss your teeth and then use an electric toothbrush to polish the teeth. Some minor scraping may be involved, but the main focus is brushing and flossing.

With a deep cleaning, dentists really get down to the gumline and the hard-to-reach portions of the teeth to get them as clean as they can, with major attention to scraping the tartar away and smoothing down rough portions of the tooth's surface.

Ideal Candidates for Root Planing and Scaling

The best candidate for root planing and scaling is someone who has tartar deposits around their teeth. This will usually be spotted during a routine checkup. Undergoing a root planing and scaling session sooner rather than later is the best way to prevent difficult cavities and potential root canal infections.

What to Expect During Root Planing and Scaling

The root planing and scaling procedure is performed using local anesthetic. This prevents patients from major pain and discomfort while they are in the dentist's chair, helping them relax during the procedure. A dentist and a hygienist work together, diligently scraping tartar and improving the surface smoothness of a tooth that's been affected by minor traces of decay.

Typically a deep cleaning procedure is only performed on one-half or even just one-quadrant of the mouth. This is done to reduce the duration of a visit and prevent the use of anesthesia on the entire mouth. Subsequent visits can be scheduled as needed.

What to Expect After Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

After a root planing and scaling treatment, it's not uncommon for patients to experience sensitivity or tenderness of the teeth and gums. Numbness in the portion of the mouth that was treated is normal as well. Lukewarm foods and beverages are generally ideal for the afternoon and evening after root planing and scaling just to prevent tooth sensitivity.

Patients should brush and floss as they normally would, though they should do so gently since their gums may be sensitive. By the next day, things should be just fine. Better, in fact, since the teeth will be tartar-free.

Learn More About Root Planing and Scaling

For more information about root planing and scaling and how it can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Nordhus Dentistry look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in more detail.

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​Dr. Byron J. Nordhus

Nordhus Dentistry

Dr. Byron J. Nordhus strives to provide the highest level of comprehensive dental care at his Wichita, KS, practice, while treating his patients like family. He uses advanced materials, treatments, and technology to make dental procedures as effective and painless as possible. Affiliations include:

  • Academy of Laser Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association 

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (316) 721-6730.

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