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Scaling and Root Planing: 

Scaling and Root Planing


Non-surgical Gum Treatment: Scaling and Root Planing


Scaling and Root Planing (SRP), also known as "deep cleaning" is a good first step in addressing early to moderate adult gum disease.


Gum Disease should actually be called "bone" disease as the disease eats away at the bone in your jaw where the roots of your teeth anchor.  No place for the teeth to anchor= no teeth in your mouth.


How do I know if I need Scaling and Root Planing?

You likely need scaling and root planing if your gums bleed when you brush or floss, your gums bleed when the dentist probes around your teeth,  your pocket numbers are above 5, or you have years of deposits on your teeth.


Why should I be concerned if my gums bleed? It doesn't really hurt.

Bleeding is a sign of infection.  Healthy gums should not bleed.  When left unchecked, this gum infection, like any infection in your body,  will get worst.   This progressing infection sets off a domino effect--where one problem leads to another problem.  Eventually, there will be a lot of bone destruction which will cause your teeth to get loose and fall out. 

It is much easier to have treatment done before the pain starts.  If you wait till it hurts, the disease will likely have progressed and be more challenging to treat.  Prevention, or early intervention, really is the best medicine.


How do I get rid of this infection? 

As this infection is the result of different factors, such as: the different bacteria in your mouth, your genetic make-up, your habits, and home care routine, it will need a varied approach to treat. 

The active stage of treatment:

This involves having "Scaling and Root Planing" which is a procedure to thoroughly clean the deposits off your teeth and roots under the gums and to remove the bacteria causing the infection.  This can be done in one or two appointments.  This involves getting numb, and having a "spring cleaning" done under and above the gums in your mouth using an ultra sonic scaler to knock off any big deposits and help kill the bacteria followed with hand instruments to smooth the surfaces of your teeth and roots.  Finally, the gum pockets will be flushed with medicine or Ozonated air in an attempt to kill more bacteria.  In more advanced cases, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics for you to take the day before your treatment and continue for 7-10 days after treatment. 

The re-evaluation stage of treatment:

Approximately, one month after this treatment, the doctor will re-evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure by checking the tissues' response to treatment, examining the gum tissue and checking the probing depths.  Localized antibiotics may need to be placed or some areas may need more smoothing.  If there is inadequate resolution, the doctor will discuss other treatment options like laser treatment (LANAP) or a referral to a gum specialist known as a Periodontist. 

The maintenance stage of treatment:

Once the active infection is removed, we have to be vigilant as it is easy for the infection to re-establish itself based on the nature of this disease.  In many ways it is like a chronic condition that can be managed more than treated.  This will require periodontal monitoring and cleanings every 3 to 4 months and a more thorough home care routine.



Will this procedure hurt?

Fortunately, there is little pain involved as you will be numb when getting this done.  After the anesthetic wears off, you may have some sensitivity where you received the anesthetic but this is easily addressed with over the counter pain medicine, like Advil or Tylenol. Depending on your individual condition, once the inflammation of your gum reduces, you may have more of your root surfaces exposed in your mouth which may lead to some cold sensitivity.  Many have found that using special toothpastes can lessen these symptoms.  

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