Some of our patients in Arlington, VA who were looking for a dentist in Ballston, have questions about scaling and root planing.  Maybe they have been told from a dentist in Arlington, VA that they need scaling and root planing, or simply have a question.  Below, we offer an explanation of the procedure and its importance in oral health.

In the field of dentistry, scaling and root planing (SRP) are regarded as the primary modalities for treating periodontal disease. The goal of these treatments is to arrest the disease process, maintain a healthy periodontium and preserve the dentition. As prevention becomes a larger component of everyday dental practice, dentists are performing SRP more often as part of their periodontal maintenance programs. Every 6 months or 1 year, the dental hygienist or dentist would recommend you undergo a session of SRP for preventive measures.

But what are dental cleanings? They involve removing plaque (a soft, sticky layer of bacteria, food & saliva) and hard tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Do you realize that your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium which helps strengthen and protect your teeth? While this is beneficial, it, unfortunately, means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. The fact is, these white substances will build up over time, almost like the limescale deposits at the base of your kettle. Usually, it is tooth colored and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it can also vary from brown to black in color.

If this tartar is allowed to build up on the teeth, it will, unfortunately, provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive beside the gums. The purpose of cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth beautifully clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and so provide you a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular daily hygiene regime.

As the general population suffers from periodontal problems, SRP is one means to tackle the issue. Non-surgical periodontal therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for patients with chronic periodontitis. Conventional non-surgical treatment by debridement of the root surfaces is performed on a quadrant basis at 1-2 week intervals. A new approach to full-mouth non-surgical therapy to be completed within two consecutive days with (full-mouth disinfection) or without the (full-mouth debridement) use of oral antiseptics has been suggested by researchers to be the best course of treatment.

Root planing is a significant step in removing the tartar attached to the root of the teeth. After root surface debridement, the subgingival microflora can re-establish from these niches. Thus, the concept of one-stage full-mouth disinfection was introduced to prevent re-infection of the already treated sites by remaining bacteria from untreated pockets or other intraoral reservoirs, by completing the treatment in 24 hours and strict use of antimicrobial agents, mainly chlorhexidine (CHX). Following this procedure, the healing should take place and the health of the gingiva should be restored to normal.

If you are looking for a new dentist in Arlington, VA and have additional questions about scaling and root planing, please feel free to give Arlington Advanced Dental Care a call to set up a comfortable and convenient dental appointment.