What is a “scaling and planing”?

istock 1270073836 If your dentist has recommended a “scaling and planing,” you may be thinking it sounds like some sort of a new dental torture. However, this procedure is very common and sometimes very necessary to ensure the health of your teeth! Whether you are considering a cosmetic dentistry procedure or you are just concerned about your oral health, you need your mouth to be in good shape – a scaling and planing can help. 

Scaling and planing

This procedure is simply a deep cleaning below the gumline. It involves two steps: the “scaling” involves using hand or ultrasonic instruments to clean deep beneath the gum line. The “planing” is a procedure to smooth out rough areas on the root’s surface, which helps to prevent bacteria and plaque from sticking to the root. Patients who need planing may have gum irritation as the gums begin to separate from the teeth. Planing can help to reduce this inflammation, and as the gums heal they will reattach to the teeth. 

Why would I need a scaling and planing?

You might need this deep cleaning if plaque (that sticky film that forms on your teeth that is filled with bacteria) builds up on your teeth. If the plaque isn’t cleaned off properly and it gets really bad, your gums become inflamed and irritated and start to pull away from the teeth, forming “pockets.” Even more plaque gets trapped in these pockets, and it becomes very difficult to get out with just regular brushing or your regular 6-month cleaning at the dentist. If the plaque is allowed to build up underneath your gums for too long, it can lead to gum disease and eventually even tooth and bone loss. 

Scaling and planing isn’t a new kind of torture! It is one way to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy – another way is to take good care of your teeth, with brushing, flossing, and a visit to the Konig Center for Cosmetic and Comprehensive Dentistry, whether you are having problems with your teeth or you just need a checkup. Make an appointment at the Houston, Texas, office today, by calling (713) 668-2289!

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