Typically, the first non-surgical step in the treatment of periodontal disease involves a special cleaning known as scaling and root planing (SRP), or a “deep cleaning.” When pocket depths are 3mm or more, scaling and root planing can be used to treat periodontal disease by removing plaque and tartar buildup found below the gum line. A specialized instrument called a small scaler or an ultrasonic cleaner is used to carefully remove plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. Finally, the tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed or planed, helping gum tissue to heal while shrinking periodontal pockets. This procedure makes it more difficult for the accumulation of plaque along the root surfaces. To alleviate any potential discomfort, a local anesthetic may be given at the beginning of the procedure.
Depending on the extent of periodontal disease present, treatment by scaling and root planing may be recommended for one or more sections (quadrants) of your mouth. In combination with a deep cleaning, a localized antibiotic such as ARESTIN® may be used to help control infection and promote healing. Once scaling and root planing has been completed, a follow up appointment is usually scheduled several weeks later to examine your gums to see how they have healed and how the periodontal pockets have decreased. Often, many patients do not require further active treatment for periodontal disease and just need proper preventative care.
- Maintaining good oral hygiene at home and continued follow up maintenance cleanings are essential to help prevent periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.
- Periodontitis does not go away by itself- prevention and treatment in early stages is crucial to keeping a healthy smile