As you may have heard, bacteria causes gum disease. How does this happen? Plaque and tartar provide an irregular surface that allows bacteria to attach easily to teeth and gums.

If plaque and tartar are not removed, gum disease can break down the supporting (bone) structures of the teeth so that, eventually, they will become loose and fall out.

However, if gum disease is caught in time, gums and teeth can be restored to a healthy condition.

To stop gum disease from progressing, we may advise root planing and scaling (also known as deep cleaning) to remove the plaque and tartar.

Root planing and scaling is often done when the gums have started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have tartar on them.

However, before beginning the root planing and scaling, we will use a local anesthetic to numb your gums, if needed. For the actual procedure, our dentists and dental hygienists will use an ultrasonic tool and/or a scraping tool for root planing and scaling

Scaling is the process of removing dental tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. Scaling goes after the area below the gum line, along the root.

Because plaque is more likely to stick to rough surfaces, root planing is done to smoothen the root surfaces and remove any infected tooth structure. Root planing also removes any remaining tartar.

The two processes tend to blur together during the deep cleaning process. The dentist scales away tartar and performs any necessary root planing at the same time.

A root planed surface that is free of tartar will allow gum tissues to heal and reattach to it. Some deep gum pockets can be reduced in size after a deep cleaning.

After the root planing and scaling, we may place an antibiotic into the pockets between your teeth and gum to help speed healing and prevent infection.

Sometimes planing and scaling may be extensive and has to be done in parts of the mouth over multiple visits. Scaling and root planning procedures are the most common and conservative forms of treatment for gum disease.

For early stages of gum disease, scaling and root planning may be all that is needed to get the condition under control. This is especially true with gingivitis. With more advanced gum disease, however, scaling and root planing may be the first step before surgery.

If you maintain good dental care after the procedure, gum disease should stop and your gums will likely heal. Over time, they should become firm and pink again.

While some folks may think they can do this type of procedure at home, scaling and root planing is only done with special equipment by a dentist or dentist hygienist.

If you or a loved one may have gum disease, do not waste another moment allowing it to progress. Call (949) 760-0363 and make an appointment with an experienced dentist before you get permanent tooth and gum damage.