Root planing is ‘deep’ scaling to clean parts of the teeth below the gum-line which cannot be reached with a toothbrush.
Gums can become diseased so that they look red and puffy. They will probably bleed when you brush. Painless gum ‘pockets’start to form around the teeth and bone supporting the teeth is slowly lost.
Root planing cleans out these pockets and removes plaque and hard tartar from the tooth roots. It takes longer than a scale and polish and is often done under local anaesthetic. Your mouth might be treated in sections, or more than one visit.
What does the dentist do?:
Dentists use two types of tools for root planing.
- Hand scalers come in different sizes and shapes, to reach different parts of the teeth. This why you will see the dentist changing instruments.
- Electric scalers use very fast vibration with water. The water is removed from your mouth using suction. A hand scaler is used to check whether the roots are completely cleaned of deposits.
After a root has been root planed the pocket should shrink, making the gum sit closer to the tooth. You then need to be especially careful about cleaning the teeth above the gum-line. Root planing will probably need to be repeated at intervals.
What are the benefits of this treatment?
- Gum disease is progressive and – because it is painless – it can become severe without you noticing. When there is not enough supporting bone left, teeth become loose and eventually have to be extracted. Root planing can stop gum disease becoming worse and prevent tooth loss.
- Like scaling and polishing root planing helps you to keep your teeth and gums clean at home. Dentists cannot keep your mouth healthy by themselves. Your own cleaning is just as important.