Root planing is the meticulous cleaning of root surfaces to remove dental plaque and calculus from inside a periodontal pocket in order to get rid of the bacteria that cause gum disease.
If your dental hygienist cleans your teeth every six months or so, you know that a routine professional cleaning involves scaling teeth and the gumline to remove plaque and tartar, and polishing to remove stains and smooth the tooth’s surface. This is done to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you have symptoms of gum disease, however, you may need another type of cleaning, called scaling and root planing.
When you have more advanced signs of gum disease (bad breath, heavy tartar buildup and unhealthy pocket depths of 4mm or more), your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing as the first procedure necessary to treat the condition.
Scaling and root planing teeth, provided by either your dentist or dental hygienist/therapist, may take more than one appointment to complete, and a local anesthetic is often used to minimize any discomfort. The procedure involves thoroughly scaling all plaque, bacterial toxins and tartar deposits from your teeth and root surfaces; and then root planing, which smoothes all rough areas on your roots’ surfaces. Smooth root surfaces keep bacteria, plaque and tartar from re-adhering underneath the gumline, allowing your gums to heal and reattach themselves more.
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