Scaling and Root Planing (Treatment for Periodontitis)
Periodontitis (or periodontal disease) is a condition that affects the supporting structures of the teeth or the periodontium (the gums, the ligaments and the bone). This disease may be a genetic condition and/or may occur from poor oral hygiene. Other diseases, such as diabetes, may contribute to this condition as well. The build-up of plaque (bacteria in a biofilm) on the teeth can lead to gingivitis, characterized by red and bleeding gums, and then, if not controlled, can progress to periodontitis.
- This inflammatory condition causes an immune response that in turn progressively eats the bone away.
- As the bone starts to disappear, deep pocketing occurs between the teeth and the gums and calculus (tartar) builds up on the root surfaces under the gums.
- This must be cleaned out from under the gums to help arrest the progression of the disease in a procedure known as Scaling and Root Planing.
- As it can be uncomfortable to have this hard build-up removed from under the gums, the patient is often given local anesthetic to help make the procedure more comfortable.
- Patients with periodontitis often must have their teeth cleaned every 3 – 4 months to keep this disease controlled and to prevent further bone loss and ultimately tooth loss.