Scaling and Root Planing: Your Non-Surgical Treatment Option for Gum Disease

When left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral health. However, when detected early, Dr. Teddi Olszewski can halt the progression of periodontal disease and restore the health of your gums. Scaling and root planing treatment— also known as a deep cleaning—is provided at our Northampton, MA practice, and can remove plaque and tartar from below your gum line to improve your periodontal health.

When is Scaling and Root Planing Necessary?

Scaling and root planing is designed to address mild to moderate gum disease. Periodontal disease begins as gingivitis, which is characterized by swollen, red, and tender gums. If this condition progresses, it is known as periodontitis. During this stage, the infection in your gums begins to affect the bone that supports the teeth, resulting in pockets around the teeth roots.

To diagnose your condition, Dr. Olszewski will measure the pocket depths around each tooth. The higher the number, the more advanced the disease. Deep cleanings are typically recommended when pockets are four millimeters or higher, because your toothbrush and floss are unable to reach these areas effectively.

Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease is not curable, but it can be effectively managed with a combination of scaling and root planing and routine dental cleanings. Managing the condition is crucial for oral and overall health, as gum disease can increase your risk for a number of health concerns, such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums through periodontal therapy helps prevent serious problems in the future.

What Happens during a Deep Cleaning?

When scaling and root planing is performed, the gums are numbed with local anesthesia to maintain your comfort so the clinician can clean deep into the gum line. Using specialized hand scalers and ultrasonic instruments, Dr. Olszewski will sweep away food, debris, and plaque deposits that have accumulated around the necks of the teeth. The roots are then smoothed so that irritants are less likely to reattach.

A dental tool

Scaling and root planing is a conservative treatment option for patients with mild to moderate gum disease. 

Recovery after Scaling and Root Planing

Following your procedure, you will probably experience slight tenderness and temperature sensitivity. This is a normal part of the healing process, and should subside within a week or two. Most patients notice only mild discomfort after scaling and root planing. However, any tenderness can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Maintaining Gum Health

Professional cleanings and treatments are only part of your oral care regimen. For long-lasting results, you will need to remain diligent in your at-home routines, as well. After scaling and root planing, you should continue to brush at least two times per day with a soft toothbrush, and floss at least once per day. You can also use an antibacterial mouthwash. Keep in mind, however, mouthwash is intended to supplement your oral care regimen, and should never be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. To promote excellent periodontal health, you should also:

  • Avoid all forms of tobacco
  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Attend all scheduled dental visits

Dr. Olszewski will monitor your gum health, and recommend a cleaning schedule to fit your unique needs. While many patients only require cleanings every six months, those who are prone to gum disease may benefit from more frequent cleanings.

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you are experiencing symptoms of gingivitis or gum disease, scaling and root planing may be the most conservative treatment option for you. To schedule a visit at Northampton Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, contact us online or call us at (413) 584-2902.

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