Scaling and Root Planing
Non Surgical Periodontal Therapy also known as scaling and root planing or “a deep cleaning” is often recommended as the first step in periodontal therapy. Treatment is done by one of our hygienists using local anesthesia to provide comfort for the patient as the root surfaces in deep periodontal pockets are debrided to remove calculus or “tartar” and to smooth the root surfaces to remove bacterial toxins. This may take more than one visit with the hygienist and is followed up with a visit with Dr. Britten in four to six weeks to reevaluate the periodontal tissues.
A Periodontal Maintenance is a procedure that includes removal of plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, all the way down the length of each tooth to where the root, gum and bone meet. Rough areas are smoothed out if needed, pocket depths are carefully monitored and inflamed pockets may be irrigated with antibacterial medications if necessary.
If you have periodontal disease which has resulted in bone loss, gum “pockets” deeper than 4 mm, bleeding gums, exposed root surfaces, or if you have had periodontal surgery or root planning, it is important to alternate cleanings between our office and your general dentist. Your general dentist will keep an eye on your teeth, while we focus mainly on the foundation around them. Periodontal Maintenance is one of the most critical factors in maximizing the longevity of the results received after scaling and root planing or periodontal surgery.
We are often asked, “What is the difference between a regular cleaning and a periodontal maintenance?” A Regular cleaning, or “prophylaxis,” is different because the hygienist removes soft plaque, tartar and stains from the teeth above the gumline and only slightly below. A regular cleaning is done with your general dentist 2 to 3 times per year depending on how quickly stain, plaque and tartar accumulate.