Dental Scaling and Planing: is it right for you?
Scaling is when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gumline, making sure to clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Your dentist may then begin root planing, smoothing out your teeth roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth.
Why would I need Scaling or Planing?
Gum disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but if they aren’t cleaned well, the bacteria in plaque can cause your gums to become inflamed. When this happens, your gums could pull away from your teeth and form spaces called pockets. Plaque can then get trapped in these pockets and cannot be removed with regular brushing. If untreated, gum disease could lead to bone and tooth loss.
If gum disease is caught early and hasn’t damaged the structures below the gum line, a professional cleaning should do. If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, however, scaling and root planing may be needed.
A July 2015 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association finds that scaling and root planing is beneficial to patients with chronic periodontitis (gum disease that has advanced past gingivitis). Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over the age of 30 in the United States.