Most people recognize that regular cleaning is the cornerstone of good dental hygiene. Every day, your toothbrush and floss clean away the plaque that builds up on your teeth and gum line. Every six months or so, your dentist or hygienist should clean away the tartar (calcified plaque) that’s developed since your last visit. Sometimes, however, plaque and tartar make their way underneath your gums before you have a chance to clean them away. If this occurs, your smile and oral health may require a deeper cleaning than usual – a process known as scaling and root planing.

What it means

Scaling and root planing is a more descriptive term for periodontal cleaning, or deep cleaning. While regular dental cleaning involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the visible crowns of your teeth, deep cleaning is the same process, but performed on your non visible teeth roots. The process is similar, but much more involved, as scaling and root planing require your dentist to carefully expose several of your teeth roots at a time. Doing so allows your dentist to thoroughly clean the root surfaces of harmful oral bacteria (scaling), as well as smooth the root surfaces to inhibit bacteria buildup in the near future.

Why it works

The purpose of scaling and root planing is to clean your teeth roots; the point of the procedure, however, is to protect your smile against gingivitis and more severe gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease begins when oral bacteria infect the tissues, causing rampant inflammation and irritation that can quickly grow worse. By undergoing scaling and root planing as early as possible, you have a much better chance of avoiding the potentially serious consequences of gum disease and the need for more extensive treatment to manage it.

When you need it

Because deep cleaning is more involved than regular dental cleaning, it can take multiple visit to complete the procedure. Also, we only recommend it when absolutely necessary, either to treat gum disease or to reduce your risks of developing it (if performed early enough). To boost your chances of addressing gum disease early, pay close attention to your gums when you brush and floss your teeth every day. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to schedule a scaling and root planing appointment:

  • Your gums bleed when you brush and floss
  • Parts of your gums seem dark or discolored
  • Your gums seem swollen and angry looking
  • You develop chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • You notice your gums starting to recede
  • And more

Schedule your deep cleaning

Unlike regular dental cleaning, deep cleaning (or scaling and root planing) is only recommended when necessary. To learn if you need scaling and root planing, schedule an appointment with us by calling Dreem Dentistry in Leawood, KS, today at 913-681-5500. We also serve patients who live in Overland Park and all surrounding communities.