Is Scaling and Root Planing Painful?

Is Scaling and Root Planing Painful?

Dec 01, 2022

Excellent oral hygiene is a great way to maintain the health of your gums. When you don’t clean your mouth well, debris mix with disease-causing bacteria to form plaque, a thin colorless film on teeth. If not cleaned on time, it turns into tartar, a hard yellow-brown deposit that forms on teeth and around the gum line.

Over time, these bacterial deposits release harmful acids that attack the tooth’s enamel, causing cavities and tooth decay. The acids also irritate and infect gum tissues, causing inflammation or gum disease. Surprisingly, over 50% of American adults have gum disease.

If left unattended, the infection spreads below the gum line, leading to severe discomfort and complications. These can include gum recession, bone loss, tooth mobility, and tooth loss. Untreated gum disease also increases your risk of severe health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory problems.

Keep reading to learn more about root planing and scaling and how to treat gum disease.

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Dental scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, is one of the most common non-surgical procedures for treating gum disease. It’s a less invasive way of removing bacterial plaque and tartar from deep gum pockets to restore the health of your gums and surrounding structures.

Deep cleaning is somehow similar to your regular dental cleanings. The only difference is that deep cleaning also involves cleaning areas under the gum line. Advanced gum disease causes gum recession, the separation of gums from the teeth.

Root planing and scaling are essential to remove bacterial tartar and plaque from these deep pockets where a toothbrush can’t reach.

Teeth Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

Depending on the amount of plaque buildup, you can complete the treatment in one or two appointments. Your dentist can administer local anesthesia to make the treatment more comfortable.

Next, the dentist will begin by scaling. They use special tools to scrape off plaque from your teeth and below the gum line. The dentist also smoothens the teeth’ roots, allowing for easier reattachment of the gums to the teeth. Rough root spots can hold and encourage bacteria and plaque build-up, promoting gum disease.

Your dentist or hygienist can use either or both of the following types of scaling instruments:

  • Hand-held instruments. The dentist uses a dental scale and curette to remove plaque and tartar from teeth manually.
  • Ultrasonic instruments. The dentist uses ultrasonic scaling instruments with a vibrating metal tip to remove plaque and tartar from teeth. A water spray washes away the debris and keeps the tip cool.

Does Dental Scaling Hurt?

Since scaling and root planing involve removing plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and around the gums, it can cause discomfort. Fortunately, your dentist or hygienist will numb your mouth to keep you comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure.

After the procedure, the anesthesia will wear off, and you might experience minor discomfort and tenderness. Fortunately, these symptoms are temporary and should fade in a couple of days. Similarly, the dentist can prescribe some medications to manage discomfort, reduce swelling, and prevent infections.

After the treatment, it’s also essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent bacterial infections from recurring. It’s also essential to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid or limit sugary foods as they can encourage bacteria growth in the mouth, promoting gum disease.

Similarly, eating hard and crunchy food items can disturb or irritate the gums, worsening the pain and swelling, which can encourage new infections. Seeing your dentist for routine dental check-ups and cleanings will also minimize the amount of plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth, significantly reducing your risk of gum disease.

Your dentist can put you in a maintenance cleaning routine every 3 – 4 months. Ensure you go to all appointments. The dentist can prescribe other treatments, like antimicrobial agents, based on your condition. If your condition is more serious, you may need surgery to repair your gums and bone.

Once you’ve healed, your gum tissues should regain their firmness, pink appearance, comfort, and health.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you interested in dental scaling and root planing in Newburyport, MA? Contact Newburyport Family Dental for more information.

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