Scaling and root planing is also known by other names like conventional periodontal therapy, deep cleaning or surgical periodontal therapy. It is a procedure wherein the dental plaque and calculus (tartar) is removed, followed by the smoothing or the planing of the surface of the roots that are exposed. This in turn removes dentine or the cementum that is loaded with calculus (tartar), microbes and toxins. The process is carried out with the help of tools like periodontal scalers and curettes. Plaque is the grayish-yellow substance that sticks to the surface of the tooth. It is made up of bacteria, glycoprotein and polysaccharides. This makes the plaque difficult to be removed just by rinsing. The colonies of bacteria is plaque are usually removed through regular brushing and flossing of the teeth but in some cases, it starts absorbing the minerals such as calcium and phosphorus of the saliva of the mouth and the biofilm which is soft and removable turns into a hard substance known as tartar or calculus, which is not removed by brushing or flossing. The accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth can cause some serious troubles, including gingivitis and periodontitis that could eventually result in the serious damaging of the gums and even the jaw line. It could result in the complete loss of teeth if proper treatment and measures are not carried out. The procedure of scaling and root planing is done after a thorough assessment and examination the mouth of a person. Digital images or radiographs of the full mouth are taken. Charting of the mouth, 6 points per tooth is conducted. X-rays are taken to conduct visual examinations and then a proper diagnosis is done to assure if the procedure of scaling and planing could be or should be carried out. The treatment is not just a matter of one single dentist appointment and may require three to four visits to the test.
A mild anesthetic may be used to relieve of the patient of any pain that may arise during the procedure and cause discomfort. The first step is scaling, where special dental instruments like ultrasonic scaling tool are used. This tool removes tartar and plaque from surface of the root and crown of the teeth. Usually, an irrigation process is used to provide antimicrobial formula below the gums to reduce the oral bacteria that might be present. In this next step of root planing, cementum and dentin loaded with microbes and toxins are removed. The roots of the teeth are smoothened out. The gums are also treated with some antibiotics to ease the irritation and so that the teeth and gums can heal properly and faster. After the procedure, some more visits to the dentist may be required so that he/she can perform thorough examinations and be sure that the gums and teeth are healing in the way they should. If they don’t, then some other serious treatments may be recommended.
Periodontitis is the dental condition wherein the gum infection causes the gums and the jaw line to be extremely damaged. It is a case of advanced gingivitis- another dental condition where the gums are swollen and bleed. If gum diseases are not kept in check they can result in serious issues such as complete damage of the jaw line and loss of teeth. There may be deep spaces between the gum and teeth, in which case a person may have to undergo the dental procedure of scaling and root planing. A 2015 study concludes that chronic periodontitis is common in and affects large numbers of adults in the world and such people highly qualify for undergoing the procedure. Losing teeth as a part of growing old is also a wrong notion. Loss of teeth may only occur due to underlying periodontal diseases that have been unchecked and not been taken care of on time.
If a person’s radiograph taken upon the diagnosis of the mouth does not show the loss of bone, the person might not be eligible for the treatment of periodontal scaling and root planing, as bone loss justifies the accumulation of tartar and bacteria. Even in the case where the presence of these substances is only on the enamel surfaces, the person would not be told to ahead with the procedure.
Scaling and root planing may be of extreme value to people who undergo this procedure. Although it is a surgical procedure, it is beneficial to people who have serious gum problems and lead painful lives. Besides, it helps in teeth protection, adds an attractive sheen to the teeth as any stains on the teeth are removed and help people who have a bad breath as the accumulation of tartar and plaque may cause a person to have a bad smelling breath.
But there is a downside to this procedure, people who get are frequently getting their teeth to undergo scaling and root planing are making their mouth more vulnerable to a variety of infections and diseases. Moreover, sensitivity if teeth towards too hot and too cold food products is highly increased, which may be uncomfortable for many people.
After some days of the surgery, the teeth might bleed a little- it should gradually get subsided. Couple of visits to the dentist is also recommended so as to be sure that the healing is taking place quickly. The dentist may ask of the patient to sign up for some maintenance visits and procedures, too. If the dentist is sure that no other problem is there to be taken care of and the teeth and gums are not healthy, then good oral hygiene practices must be adopted so as to avoid the situation in the future. Brushing twice a day is a great way to keep oral problems at bay. Replacing the toothbrush is the bristles are worn is also suggested. Flossing between the teeth is also a great practice to keep your teeth healthy and shining.
It generally takes few weeks to recover from the intial problems of the teeth and gums. The entire recovery can last for few months.
Price of the procedure of scaling and root planing of the whole mouth in India, in any private dentist clinic, may range from INR 1500 to INR 2000. The price of the process may vary as it is dependent on the area of the mouth that is to be subjected to deep cleaning.
The result of scaling and root planing are not permanent. This is because, even after the treatment, a person’s mouth is susceptible to the accumulation of tartar, plaque and bacteria, if he/she does not adopt good oral hygiene practices. In cases of people with chronic periodontitis, the problem may arise again and so the solution is not long lived.
As we know that scaling and root planing is carried out when there is a wide gap between the gum and the teeth, other options in place of this procedure are also taken into consideration, one of them being the process of regenerative periodontal endoscopy. In this procedure, microscopic removal of tartar is conducted, followed by attaching regenerative proteins and enzyme inhibitors.
Unhealthy teeth and gums might render a person to live an extremely disturbed life as the swollen and bleeding gums are painful and cause immense discomfort. Oral hygiene practices should be an integral part of a person’s life so as to avoid such problems in future or at all.