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Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

The objective of scaling & root planning is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone.  Common etiologic agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and tartar (calculus).

These non-surgical procedures which completely cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and moderate/severe periodontal disease.

Reasons for scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planning can be used both as a preventative measure and as a stand-alone treatment.  These procedures are performed as a preventative measure for a periodontitis sufferer.

Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:

  • Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body.  Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria.  Scaling and root planing remove bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.

  • Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease.  As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria.  Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss.  Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.

  • Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline.  As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planning procedure.

  • Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath).  Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth.  The dentist will take X-rays, conduct visual examinations and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.

Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, the depth of the pockets and the progression of the periodontitis, local anesthetic may be used.

Scaling – This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool.  The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces.  In many cases, the scaling tool includes an irrigation process that can also be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.

Root Planing – This procedure is a specific treatment which serves to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar.  The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps bacteria from easily colonizing in future.

Following these deep cleaning procedures, the gum pockets may be treated with antibiotics.  This will soothe irritation and help the gum tissues to heal quickly.

During the next appointment, the dentist or hygienist will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed.  If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.

If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

“All my life I wanted beautiful straight, white teeth. At the age of 39, I had braces and still my teeth were too small and discolored. You told me veneers would greatly improve my smile. It took only two painless visits and my teeth were gorgeous. It took 66 years, but now I have the smile I always wanted.”

John D

“After only one visit, I'm very confident that this was the best choice for a new dentist. The staff is more than friendly; that's so important to me. I feel that my needs are in very capable hands. Perhaps, I may even look forward to going to the dentist! ”

Steven C

For the last 10 years I have been a patient at Dr Rinehart's. My teeth were in a degraded state when I first arrived but over the years Dr Rinehart has provided me everything from routine maintenance to porcelain and gold crowns and he has done so with speed, technical quality and caring comfort that leaves other dentists in the dust! Dr Rinehart is a genius of some kind-he restored my smile! Also, I am not an easy patient to have as I abhor dental pain of any kind and my teeth seem to be extremely sensitive to most instruments-I may even be called a "Scared y cat" as I am genuinely nervous even during a cleaning-but the team of good folks in Dr Rinehart's office-Karen, Chris, Julie, Sarah, Mindy to name a few, are truly compassionate and fun people. They function almost as a family and obviously have fun while working hard for their patients-there is love in that office. They are truly gifted care-givers!

Specifically, I had a severely cracked tooth that simply shattered below the gum line and I was faced with the choice of a bridge OR an implant. I only know one thing about bridges for tooth repair....people complain endlessly about the accumulation of food. For me the choice was obvious-I had to have an implant! Chewing is terribly important to me as I had lost the sense of smell as a child and the tactile pleasure from chomping down on a good steak or munching on a caramel apple is a BIG DEAL to me-a source of much pleasure!! An implant is a good investment in not just dental health but worry-free eating! Folks, thanks to your efforts and Dr. Rinehart's magical touch - NO SWELLING & NO PAIN... In truth, I was actually scared about this implant as drilling into one's jaw sounds like a 2 week vacation to North Korea! Frankly, I am amazed - - I filled the prescription for the Tylenol and took 2 before bed as a precaution - even though I had no pain... and awoke the next day to nothing unusual. This implant is undetectable. It feels as at home in my mouth as my molars! Dr. Rinehart is a genius - I am in disbelief as to how innocuous and pain free the entire procedure was and the lack of follow-up pain and complications! Please feel free to use this as an implant testimonial for all your other scaredy-cats like me!

Did I mention that I am squeamish about all procedures?
Dr Rinehart and the angels of mercy that work with him made it unbelievably painless-It was a very simple process that is well planned and reviewed. The outcome is a beautiful tooth that stands up to the normal rigors of dental activity!

In closing I heartily recommend dental implants as a viable solution and Dr Rinehart as the care giver par excellence! Again many thanks to his loving and caring staff!

Greg B.

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