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Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is performed to remove etiologic agents like dental plaque and tartar, that are responsible for causing inflamed gum tissue and surrounding bone.

Fortunately, a scaling and root planing procedure performed by a trained periodontist or hygienist can be a very effective treatment method for patients suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation), as well as moderate to severe periodontal (gum) disease.

Scaling and root planing is typically only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth.  Our dentist will conduct a visual examination that may include X-ray imaging in order to make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning any intensive periodontal therapy.

Here are some common reasons why a patient may require scaling and root planing:

To prevent disease: The oral bacteria responsible for causing periodontal infections can actually travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body – potentially leading to systemic problems like lung infections and heart disease, as research indicates.

To protect the teeth: When the pockets of the gums are more than 3mm deep, this places a patient at high risk for periodontal disease. The more deep the periodontal pockets, the more harmful bacteria they become susceptible to housing – which will lead to the loss of precious gum tissue and bone over time; ultimately causing the teeth to become loose and fall out due to loss of support.

To maintain smile’s attractiveness: Since scaling and root planing works to removes plaque and tartar from the tooth’s surfaces, including below the gumline, it can successfully eliminate some stains and discolouration on the teeth – resulting in a more attractive and healthy-looking smile.

To keep bad breath at bay: One of the more common signs of gum disease is smelly breath; technically termed “halitosis”.  Food particles and bacteria are notorious for causing a persistent bad odor in the mouth, which can fortunately be resolved with intensive dental cleaning procedures like scaling and root planing.


The scaling and root planing process explained:

Through scaling, the dental professional will use special dental tools to remove plaque and calculus from the tooth’s crown and root surfaces. This may include the use of an ultrasonic scaling tool, and will often include an irrigation process that delivers an antimicrobial agent below the gum lines to help reduce the levels of oral bacteria present.

Through root planing, cementum and surface dentin that has been affected by harmful microorganisms, tartar and toxic material is removed. The tooth’s roots are smoothed to promote healing and prevent bacteria from sticking to them and accumulating again.

Depending on the condition of the gums or severity of gum disease and bacterial deposits present, a local anesthetic may be used in order to provide a comfortable and painless treatment.

Following a scaling and root planing procedure, the gum pockets may require treatment with antibiotics in order to promote quick tissues recovery, and to soothe irritation.

Talk to our North York dental team today

If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease or scaling and root planing treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today.



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