Let’s face it: Your gums aren’t the most pleasant-looking part of your body. They tend to have a yellowish hue, become swollen at times, and are prone to bleeding when you brush your teeth or eat something pungent. In short, they’re not exactly the most attractive feature on your face. Luckily, problems such as red and swollen gums, as well as plaque and tartar buildup, are fairly common issues that many people deal with from time to time. Thankfully, there are various methods that can help resolve these concerns – including tooth scaling and root planing. Let’s take a closer look at what these two procedures entail, who can benefit from them, and the pros and cons of each one.
What is Tooth Scaling?
Tooth scaling is a dental procedure that involves the removal of plaque buildup and tartar from tooth surfaces. It’s most often performed by a dentist, but it can also be done by a dental hygienist as well. Tooth scaling typically occurs after we brush our teeth. Gum disease may also lead to the need for tooth scaling.
What is Root Planing?
Root scaling is a dental procedure that removes tartar and plaque from the tooth’s roots. It’s often combined with a deep cleaning to remove bacteria and food particles from the gum line. During the procedure, your dentist will use special tools called scalers to gently scrape off tartar and plaque from the teeth’s surfaces and then use a rotating brush to clean around the gum line. Root planing can be done on one or more teeth at a time, depending on the severity of your condition.
Benefits of Tooth Scaling and Root Planing
There are a number of different benefits to getting your teeth scaled and planned. For starters, these procedures can help reduce the risk of tooth decay. They can also help get rid of any buildup on your teeth that may be contributing to gum disease. And scaling and planning your teeth will leave them cleaner and shinier than ever before. Who should get their teeth scaled and planned? If you have gums that are sensitive or bleed when they’re touched, experience bad breath, or lose their natural shape, you could benefit from a procedure like this. You could also see benefits if you have a plaque that is left unchecked or exposed to root surfaces in the back of your mouth. The one downside to scaling and planing is that it isn’t typically covered by insurance plans as it is considered an elective procedure, not medically necessary. This means you may need to cough up some cash to get the work done. But don’t worry – it may still be worth it! After all, this can be an effective way to remove plaques and reduce bacteria on your teeth in order to promote healthy gums, which decreases your odds of gum disease and tooth decay down the line.
Cons of Tooth Scaling
Root Planing One of the main cons of tooth scaling and root planing is that it can be a fairly invasive procedure. When a dentist performs these procedures, they’ll need to numb your mouth with an anesthetic, which can take some time to take effect. Additionally, this method doesn’t last forever; you may need to visit the dentist on a regular basis to maintain them. Additionally, there are some factors that can prevent you from obtaining teeth scaling and root planing. For instance, if you have periodontal disease, it will be difficult for your dentist to do the procedure as it could worsen the condition. Another example would be if you have gum recession or receding gums: These instances can make it tough for dentists to access the roots of your teeth.
Cons of Root Planing
One of the main disadvantages of root planing is that it can be quite painful. If you have sensitive teeth, gums or a low pain threshold, this might not be a good option for you. Root scaling will also take longer than traditional dental cleaning and may require more visits to complete.
Tooth scaling and root planing are a few of the treatments that can help eliminate any plaque buildup, tartar, or other issues on your gums. For many people, these treatments can be an effective solution to make their teeth look better and reduce oral health concerns.
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First published: 10 January 2005
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Front. Immunol., 29 March 2017