Periodontal disease is a gum infection that’s caused by bacteria in plaque. If it’s not treated, it can lead to serious problems like tooth loss and bone loss around your teeth. Deep cleanings with scaling and root planing (also known as SRP) are the most common treatments for periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that affects the structures supporting your teeth. It’s caused by plaque, which builds up on your teeth and causes inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). If left untreated, this can lead to bone loss around your teeth and eventual tooth loss.
Scaling removes plaque from tooth surfaces; root planing smooths out rough spots in the root surfaces so that bacteria can’t get trapped there anymore.
To begin, your dentist or hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth with a special instrument called an ultrasonic scaler. This process is called “debridement.” Next, the tooth surfaces will be cleansed with a polishing paste and an instrument called an air-abrasive handpiece to smooth out rough spots (this step is known as “honing”). Finally, any remaining deposits left behind by these processes will be scraped away using a metal file or diamond point burr (this step is called “root planing”).
The entire process is relatively quick and painless. The most common side effect is soreness in the gums, which usually lasts only a few days.
- Temporary soreness and swelling.
- Bleeding, which may be slight or moderate.
- Temporary pain, numbness, and sensitivity to hot or cold food or drink (temporary tooth sensitivity).
To help prevent future dental problems, we recommend that you:
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco).
We also encourage you to get regular dental checkups so that we can detect any potential issues before they become serious or costly to treat.
If you have been experiencing tooth pain or dental issues and are worried about what they could mean, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Dr Chad Dains at Open Wide La Jolla. He will be able to help determine whether or not scaling and root planing is right for you.