What are dental scaling and root planing?
Scaling involves using hand and ultrasonic instruments to remove plaque and tartar build-up on tooth surfaces. Root planing is the process of removing cementum (the thin protective layer on the root surface) and dentin (the inner layer of the tooth) that is rough, fused with tartar, or infected with microorganisms and bacteria.
Why are dental scaling and root planing necessary?
The bacteria that live in our mouth feed off the sugars we eat and combine with food to form a sticky, acidic substance on teeth called plaque. Plaque is produced in our mouths every day, and accumulates on teeth and gums. If left in your mouth for too long, it calcifies into tartar (also called calculus) and becomes difficult to clean yourself.
Plaque and tartar that stay on your teeth and in your gums cause bacterial infection which, in the early stages of gum disease, is known as gingivitis. This is when scaling and root planing step in to help keep your mouth clean.
Scaling removes plaque and tartar and root planing smooths out the root surface so that plaque can be cleaned more easily. These procedures help prevent plaque and tartar build-up and allow the gum tissues to heal. If gum disease is left untreated it can lead to bone and tooth loss.
Brushing twice a day with a toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste help prevent dental problems by effectively and safely cleaning plaque off. Using floss every day helps to clean between the teeth and below the gum line, helping to prevent gingivitis and cavities.
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