Periodontal scaling and root planing is a non-surgical periodontal treatment which typically includes the removal of dental plaques which are defined as a product of microbial (germ) growth and are attached to the surfaces of the teeth and adjacent gingiva (gum). Once plaque begins to form, all factors leading to its development can contribute to continued deposition. Calculus (tarter) will form both above and below the gum line.
Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove the plaque and calculus. This procedure is typically performed by placing a small ultrasonic tip or hand scaler/curette between the tooth and the gum tissue. This procedure will remove the plaque and calculus from inside the deep periodontal pockets, and an attempt will be made to smooth the surface of the root in order to remove any toxins from the bacteria that have penetrated the root surface. Scaling and root planing is typically performed by quadrant or half mouth at one sitting, and local anesthetic is used such that most patients do quite well with this procedure not only during the procedure but post operatively as well.
Dr. Crosland will typically allow four to six weeks for this initial periodontal therapy to be successful. He will reevaluate your periodontal health at that time. If the disease was in an early state, then no additional care other than regular maintenance and thorough brushing and flossing at home may be necessary. Obviously more advanced cases may require additional therapy.
Unfortunately, non-surgical therapy does have its limitations. When it does not achieve optimal periodontal health, periodontal surgery may be needed in order to reduce the pocket depths and in some cases regenerate lost bone support.