Scaling and Root Planing

At Value Dental Center in Queen Creek, AZ, our team provides comprehensive deep cleanings to help patients reclaim good gum health, fresh breath, and a solid smile. Over 64 million adults in America, that’s half of us, suffer from some form of gum disease, and both severity and prevalence increase with a person’s age. Anyone, however, can develop gum disease, even those who are in a low risk factor group. Because the condition is chronic, it has no cure and must be managed to keep a patient in good health. If you’ve been diagnosed with mild gingivitis or periodontitis, the best treatment is a deep cleaning, which involves periodontal scaling and root planing by a licensed dental hygienist or dentist.

When Deep Cleaning is Necessary

At a regular dental cleaning, which usually takes place following a six-month checkup, a dental hygienist will use a manual probe to determine whether your gums have developed pockets at the base of teeth. These areas, called periodontal pockets, occur when bacteria from plaque and tartar begin to erode the connective tissues that hold gums to teeth. A periodontal pocket depth of over .3mm indicates the presence of gum disease. The deeper the pockets, the more advanced the condition. A depth greater than .5mm generally warrants a deep dental cleaning, which is a separate procedure.

Scaling and Root Planing

A deep cleaning has two main parts: scaling to remove plaque and hard calculus from teeth above and below the gum line, and planing to remove the rough areas on teeth roots where bacteria tend to accumulate. Before beginning the procedure, you’ll be given a local anesthetic, so you can remain comfortable throughout the treatment. The hygienist may also apply topical antibiotic to your gum pockets, to fight infection. In most cases, deep cleanings require two appointments, and you’ll probably need to attend a follow-up visit so that the hygienist can check your gum pocket depth. With effective treatment, pocket depths shrink. Should pockets continue to deepen, you will be referred to a specialist, known as a periodontist.

Maintenance After Deep Cleaning

In some cases, patients are advised to attend more frequent standard dental cleanings, visiting the hygienist three or four times per year, instead of twice. This protocol generally continues for a year, if no flare ups occur. You’ll need to be diligent in your daily oral care routine, brushing twice a day for two minutes per session, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste recommended by the hygienist. Floss daily, as well, and do not neglect using an antibacterial mouth rinse as advised. If you practice good oral homecare every day, you may not experience any advancement in your condition.

Schedule Your Deep Cleaning Now

When advised to undergo a deep cleaning, do not delay. Gum disease will never heal if left untreated. It will advance and cause tooth loss, as well as serious systemic health risks. Call Value Dental Center in Queen Creek today to reserve your deep cleaning with one of our experienced, gentle, and compassionate dental hygienists.