dentist cleaning visit

The Purpose of Scaling and Root Planing

Plaque buildup is a common problem that many dentists treat. That is why you get a thorough cleaning nearly every time you go to the dentist. Specialized tools can remove the plaque more effectively. However, there are some cases where plaque buildup may require special methods to treat.  These methods are referred to as “Scaling and Root Planing” or sometimes a “deep cleaning.”  

The purpose of scaling and root planing is the following:


1). Remove Dental Plaque


Scaling is the process of removing dental calculus from your teeth and gums. Calculus is a buildup of bacteria that hardens and sticks to your teeth. Normal brushing methods may not be able to remove it, especially as it hardens underneath your gumline. During scaling and root planing, the dentist or hygienist will numb you so that you do not feel any pain as they clean underneath your gingiva. 


2). Deep Cleaning


The dentist follows this up with a thorough deep cleaning. Using specialized tools, your dentist can remove more plaque and other things left behind on your teeth. This will help prepare your teeth for your gums to reattach if they have receded. It also prevents thick plaque buildup from affecting your teeth.


3). Reduce Inflammation


Scaling and root planing reduce gum inflammation. You may notice that your teeth bleed while you are brushing and flossing.  This is because your gums are inflamed due to the plaque and bacteria around your teeth. Reducing the amount of plaque on your teeth reduces the chances of having a full-blown infection.  As the area heals, you will also notice less bleeding and pain around your gums.  


4). Support Healthy Gum Tissue


Plaque can gather on both your teeth and your gums. The infection caused by the bacteria can weaken your gums, which can cause them to swell and recede. By removing the plaque, you can fight infections and have your gums return to a healthier state that is also easier to maintain.


5). Resolve Gum Disease


Gum disease is caused by the bacteria that gather on your teeth.  As the bacteria gets underneath your gums, it can cause an infection.  For some people this may result in puffy or swollen gums. For other people, their gums may recede from their teeth and become sensitive. Proper cleaning and maintenance visits are important when addressing gum disease.  Scaling and root planing is often recommended when a normal cleaning is not able to remove all the plaque. Scaling removes the plaque from the crowns of the teeth, while root planing removes it from the roots that are under the gums.


6). Restore Dental Health


Dental health is closely related to overall health.  Scaling and root planing seeks to restore your gums to a healthier state by removing plaque that is not removed in a regular dental cleaning.  After scaling and root planing, you should expect your gums to bleed less and be more sensitive. It will also be easier for you to keep up on your home care since it will not hurt as much to brush and floss effectively.  


Ready to Get Started?


If you are having problems with your dental health, contact us today at 860-347-8457 (Middletown) or 860-224-0433 (New Britain) to schedule your first appointment. Holzinger Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a father-daughter practice serving patients in Middletown and New Britain, CT, and we have the training and experience needed to help you have the best smile possible.