Scaling Root Planing

Gingivitis is a degenerative disease that affects the gums, and, if left alone, can cause periodontal disease, which attacks both the tissue of the mouth and the bone supporting your teeth. Gingivitis can be daunting to the patient, and cause anxiety. In reality, the treatment for gingivitis is easy, safe, and can be done right at your dentist’s office.

Plaque and tartar forms on the teeth if dental hygiene is sub par, providing the perfect place for bacteria to grow. The bacteria can cause gum inflammation and bleeding, and can become aggravated with brushing teeth, or even eating food. Bleeding and inflammation are the beginning symptoms of gingivitis, but can be easily treated. Dental hygienists will scale and polish the teeth to remove tartar and plaque, ridding the mouth of bacteria breeding grounds. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can move to the roots of the teeth, which calls for more serious action. In the case of root infection, scaling (which removes tartar from the tooth’s surface) will not be enough. Instead, root planning, which smooths the root surface and removes infected material, will be needed to restore the tooth.

Since scaling and planning are both non-surgical procedures, they are often performed without any anesthesia, although local numbing agents can be used in the case of advanced gingivitis. More rigorous scaling and root planing usually occurs over multiple appointments, leaving the gums and teeth alone to allow for healing and to minimize comfort.