July 6, 2020

What is scaling and root planing? AKA Dental Deep Cleaning

dental deep cleaning

We’ve recently gone into detail around the different dental cleanings offered at South Gables Dental and wanted to take the time to dive in a bit more when it comes explaining a deep cleaning, aka scaling and root planing dental treatment. In short, a dental deep cleaning removes bacteria and tartar both above and below your gums. Think of it like this. While a normal dental cleaning could be akin to a drive through car wash, a deep dental cleaning can be compared to taking your car to get detailed. It gets into all the nooks and crannies we all have in our mouths – places where harmful bacteria can grow and only be removed by a deep cleaning by dental professionals. 

What is a scaling and root planing dental treatment?

Scaling and root planing is commonly referred to as a deep dental cleaning and one that your dentist will recommend if you are a candidate for. This deep dental cleaning is often for patients who have periodontal or gum diseases and provides a more in depth cleaning than a normal dental cleaning

What should I ask my dentist before having a dental deep cleaning? 

Here are some questions we recommend asking your dentist before moving forward with a deep cleaning. 

  • Will you provide a local anesthetic?
  • How long will this process take?
  • When will I need to have another deep dental cleaning in the future? 
  • What are the risks for a scaling and root planing dental treatment?
  • What are the benefits to having a deep dental cleaning? 
  • How long will it take my mouth to heal after the deep cleaning? 
  • What changes should I make to my current oral hygiene routine to help prevent further periodontal issues?

Is dental deep cleaning necessary?

We sometimes hear the question “is dental deep cleaning necessary?” The answer is, it depends. The decision regarding if you are a candidate for scaling and root planing should come directly from a trusted dentist who knows your dental history. Dental x-rays and pocket depth readings can help determine if a deep cleaning is right for you. It is a more extensive dental cleaning that typically is best suited for patients who have chronic gum disease. You may be wondering what’s the big deal about gum disease? 

If left untreated, gum disease can lead to

  • Bone and tissue loss
  • Tooth loss
  • Loose teeth
  • Moving teeth
  • Swelling and/or infection

Chronic periodontal disease is more common than one may think and affects over 47 percent of adults over the age of 30 in the U.S. It’s certainly nothing to be embarrassed about and something that a scaling and root planing treatment can help keep at bay. 

What should I expect with dental deep cleaning?

A deep dental cleaning will have two parts: scaling followed by planing. During the scaling portion of the deep dental cleaning, the dentist will remove both plaque and tartar both on top and below your gums. Part two of the deep cleaning is scaling. This is when the dentist will have the roots of your teeth reattached to your gums by smoothing out the roots. In short a deep dental cleaning gets into all the nooks and crannies a normal dental cleaning won’t. 

How long does scaling and root planing take?

Oftentimes, a scaling and root planing cleaning may take several visits depending on the severity of your case. Sometimes the process will be done in four visits each lasting around 45-60 to treat one quadrant of your mouth. While an outpatient procedure and nonsurgical, it can be a bit uncomfortable so your dentist may offer a local anesthetic to ease the discomfort and can help put your mind at ease too. 

What are some after care tips post-deep dental cleaning? 

It is common to have sore, swollen and tender gums and sensitivity after a deep dental cleaning that may bleed a bit. To help heal and prevent infection, your dentist may provide a prescription. For 48-72 hours post deep cleaning, a soft diet is recommended along with avoiding hot or spicy foods, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. You want to give your teeth and gums ample time to heal. 

Get Dental Deep Cleaning in Coral Gables, FL 

At South Gables Dental, we offer top dental cleaning services in South Florida, including dental deep cleaning. Make your appointment today with Dr. Lawrence Lesperance to see if a dental deep cleaning is right for you.

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