What do the procedures entail?
Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, it may be recommended that scaling and root planning is performed. In some cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.
When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaling tool.
Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is smoothed, which promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, sometimes impossible to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Consequently, surgery may be needed to access these areas in order to restore periodontal health.
Benefits of Treatment
The benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. Non surgical therapy (conservative therapy) has been used for more than 70 years and is the gold standard for initial therapy. If not successful on its own (which it usually is), it prepares the mouth for surgical therapy. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Research has also shown that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, and are associated with heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that are associated these conditions.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.