Scaling and Root Planing
Leading the way in technology and comfort
Most of us need a good teeth scraping every so often. Despite the best of at-home efforts with all of the tooth cleaning products available, a hard build-up develops on the roots of teeth that require a dental professional’s attention. A general dentist, dental hygienist or a periodontist are the three dental professionals qualified to do scaling and root planing.
The terms describe the procedure pretty accurately. Nowadays, my technique is to use a strong topical anesthetic (no shots, hooray!) and sonic instruments. These sonic instruments use lots of water and sonic wave action to shake off the deposits. I also use the standard hand instruments to make sure the roots are smooth to the touch.
One thing to know is: if you’ve been told you need a scaling, that does imply you have periodontitis. You can’t scrape a root unless there has been loss of bone support. Exposed roots develop deposits that stick to roots under the gum line. I get many patients that have had scaling or “scraping” as it’s often called, yet never quite got the message that a chronic disease (periodontitis) is being treated. It’s like knowing you have to take a pill, but not knowing what it’s for. The point here is, understand that scaling is part of an ongoing therapy for the management of periodontitis. It’s best followed up with lighter cleanings done at intervals determined by the therapist.
My patients’ average interval for maintenance therapy is every three months.