Root planing and scaling

If you are told you need a deep teeth cleaning, you’re not alone! According to the American Academy of Periodontology, nearly half of adult Americans suffer from gum disease.

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Deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planing. Scaling includes eliminating plaque from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums. The dental hygienist can perform scaling and root planing using both electric powered ultrasonic devices or manual scaling equipment.

The opposite part of deep cleaning is root planing. The dental hygienist will use a scaling tool to take away plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of your teeth. A scaling and root planing procedure would require no less than two visits. Follow up visits may be essential to verify that your gums and teeth are getting healthier and there is no depth pockets.

Frequently Asked Questions

A deep cleanings is a type of teeth cleaning performed by your dental hygienist or dentist. A regular teeth cleaning is termed a prophylaxis because its purpose is to prevent the formation of periodontal disease. A deep cleaning’s purpose is to treat periodontal disease that has already developed.

We suggest traditional cleaning for patients who are showing no signs of gingivitis. Otherwise, you will require scaling and root planing as a starting point to restore your gum health.

Yes. In general, we perform the cleaning on a single quadrant of your mouth at a time. A quadrant is one quarter of your smile. So, you may require up to four visits before the cleaning process is complete.

Yes. Deep cleanings are necessary for patients with periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the loss of the bone and gum attachment to the teeth.  It is a “silent” disease, and most patients are not aware that they have it.  Your dentist diagnoses periodontal disease through dental x-rays and gum measurements called probing depths.

In general, the answer is yes. The inflammation that accompanies periodontal disease causes tenderness of the gums. Many patients cannot tolerate the gum measurements required to diagnose periodontal disease.

Anesthetic is the solution for patients whose gums are tender, and for whom a deep cleaning would be painful.  There are various options including a topical numbing gel, a numbing solution placed directly into the deep pockets, or the injection of local anesthetic.

Yes. Deep cleanings are a procedure covered by dental insurance as long as your dentist shows the diagnosis of periodontal disease through any of the three criteria listed above.  Because a deep cleaning is treating disease instead of preventing disease, it is not a preventive dental benefit. Rather, under most plans, it falls into the category of basic dental procedure. We can help you determine your exact benefits for this procedure.

Yes. Deep cleanings create a healthy oral environment and have minimal post-operative complications. The most common complaint after a deep cleaning is minor gum tenderness and mild tooth sensitivity. It is important to note that deep cleanings can cause damage to the tooth’s root if performed improperly or by an untrained person.  All of the registered dental hygienists and dentists at Premier Dental of Ohio are skilled and trained extensively in the appropriate techniques for deep cleanings.

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