Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

The objective of scaling & root planning is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone.  Common etiologic agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and tartar (calculus).

These non-surgical procedures which completely cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and moderate/severe periodontal disease.

Reasons for scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planning can be used both as a preventative measure and as a stand-alone treatment.  These procedures are performed as a preventative measure for a periodontitis sufferer.

Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:

  • Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body.  Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria.  Scaling and root planing remove bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.

  • Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease.  As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria.  Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss.  Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.

  • Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline.  As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planning procedure.

  • Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath).  Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth.  The dentist will take X-rays, conduct visual examinations and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.

Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, the depth of the pockets and the progression of the periodontitis, local anesthetic may be used.

Scaling – This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool.  The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces.  In many cases, the scaling tool includes an irrigation process that can also be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.

Root Planing – This procedure is a specific treatment which serves to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar.  The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps bacteria from easily colonizing in future.

Following these deep cleaning procedures, the gum pockets may be treated with antibiotics.  This will soothe irritation and help the gum tissues to heal quickly.

During the next appointment, the dentist or hygienist will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed.  If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.

If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.

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Testimonials

Dr. Hekmat's chairside manner is something that should be cloned, and all young dentists and doctors should be able to see the tender insight that this man gives his patients. Dr. Hekmat is one of the nicest, most skillful, most dedicated men I have ever met. I can't believe I was so lucky to have found him in such a huge, busy metropolis as Los Angeles.

John Burbank, CA

Dr. Hekmat has been my trusted family dentist for many years, not only taking care of me--but my wife, sister, mother, brother-in-law and mother-in-law, too! From the warm smiles that greet me when I walk in the door to the compassionate, skillful and concerned care that Dr. Hekmat and his staff provide, my visits to his office are always like visiting a member of the family. ...And I don’t want to forget to mention that I appreciate the fact that in busy Westwood, Dr. Hekmat still provides completely free, validated parking. That’s no small feat in my part of town!

Louis Santa Monica, CA

Dr. Hekmat and his team are true professionals. He is kind and always has time to answer ALL of my questions and concerns. I began visiting him after a a friend referred to me several years ago and I have not visited any other dentists since getting work done with him because he continuously provides me and my family with excellent work. I have had a root canal, crowns, bonding, whitening and removal of amalgam fillings with him and I could not be happier with his work.

He is also totally available for emergencies, something other doctors shirk at. I was on my way to LAX when my front tooth (it was being prepped for a root canal) totally came off, I panicked, called him and drove myself to his office within a hour he had me all patched up.

He never tries to sell you anything, he and his staff know my name and always make me feel welcome and calm the anxiety that comes with getting dental work done.

Lizzie West Los Angeles, CA

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