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Root Planing and Scaling: Deep Cleaning and How It Works

By Patrick Casey on August 01, 2014

A woman smiles while looking upThe entire team at Smile Montreal is committed to total dental wellness. This means emphasizing general dental care for maintenance, restorative dentistry for improving overall dental wellness, and a combination of in-office preventative care and tips for at-home treatment. This is why so many people visit our practice here in Westmount.

The root planing and scaling process is a key part of improving people's overall dental health. We'd like to take a few moments right now to consider what it involves and how it can benefit you.

What is root planing and root scaling?

Also known as deep cleaning, root planing and root scaling are a way for dentists to address tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues that affect the teeth at the gumline and root structure. In a sense, deep cleaning is both preventative and restorative in nature.

This is area where tooth structure and gum tissue meet is very hard for people to clean even with diligent brushing and flossing.

How Deep Cleaning Differs from Normal Dental Cleanings

Some people assume that deep cleaning is similar to a traditional dental cleaning that is performed at a dental exam, but that is definitely not the case. Root planing and root scaling involve the use of special scraping tools in order to address the health needs of patients.

The Distinction Between Root Planing and Root Scaling

Root planing and scaling are two separate actions that make up the entire deep cleaning process.

  • Root Scaling: Root scaling refers to the scraping of tartar and plaque from the teeth at the gumline
  • Root Planing: Root planing refers to the removal of infected tooth structure and the smoothing out of the healthy tooth structure at the gumline

The Procedure and What Patients Can Expect

Deep cleaning is performed under local anesthetic in order to reduce any pain and discomfort that patients may experience. In addition, only one-quarter to one-half of the mouth is treated during a deep cleaning session, with subsequent deep cleaning visits scheduled for later.

During the deep cleaning process, patients will lie back as the dentist and dental hygienist carefully use their specialized tools to examine and treat the tooth structure and assess the health of the patient's gumline.

Why Deep Cleaning Is Performed on Just Part of the Mouth

There are two reasons why deep cleaning is done in multiple visits.

  • Local anesthetic renders the mouth numb. Instead of rendering the entire mouth numb and inconveniencing the patient in a major way, just performing deep cleaning on part of the mouth makes more sense.
  • Deep cleaning does take time, which allows dentists to be careful while cleaning the teeth and for the procedure to be done thoroughly. It makes more sense to break treatment into multiple visits rather than keeping a patient in the practice for an extended single visit.

Recovery After Deep Cleaning

After deep cleaning, patients can expect their teeth to feel a little tender. This is to be expected given the nature of treatment. It's recommended that patients avoid foods/beverages that are hot or cold for a day or so in order to avoid undue tooth sensitivity or gum sensitivity.

Even if the teeth and gums feel a little tender, it's important for patients to brush and floss that same evening, though they should do so delicately.

Discuss Your Dental Care Needs

If you would like to find out more about root planing and root scaling and how it can help you, be sure to contact our dental care center today. The entire team here at Smile Montreal looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve excellent dental health.

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Westmount Office

4695 Rue Sherbrooke O
Westmount, QC H3Z 1G2

Open Today 7:00am - 3:00pm

More Info Directions (514) 937-6558