Scaling and Root Planing

If your dentist identifies gum disease early, they can recommend optimizing oral health routines and dental cleaning. Nevertheless, if the gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, they can recommend scaling and root planing to eradicate the bacteria, tartar, and plaque below the gum line. When you visit Dr Joseph Goodman, our experienced Beverly Hills-based dental team can conduct diagnostic imaging and measure the space between your gums and teeth. We can recommend this therapy if the pockets are deep and you have suffered bone loss, reducing the pockets’ size and improving your dental health.

Defining Dental Scaling and Root Planing Treatment

If you are experiencing persistent gum or periodontal disease, your dental hygienist could suggest a procedure known as scaling to prevent it from becoming worse. Dental scaling is a standard non-surgical method of treating periodontal disease that involves the removal of plaque and tartar from your teeth and restoring your oral health.

Tartar forms when plaque and food debris harden. While tartar sticks to visible tooth surfaces, the rest of the tartar could collect in the periodontal pockets of the teeth, weakening the ligaments that reinforce the teeth. As bacteria thrive on tartar, they cause your immune system to react through inflammation. The inflammation does more harm to the gum tissue than it does to your bacteria. The resulting destruction increases the periodontal pockets and weakens the ligaments holding the teeth.

If you suffer from severe gum disease or a condition that might require gum surgery, your dental practitioner could recommend scaling and planing or thorough teeth-cleaning before the dental procedure.

Causes of Gum Disease

Factors that could result in chronic gum disease include the following:

  • Smoking — Smoking can seriously affect your oral health
  • Poor dental hygiene — Improper or inadequate tooth brushing and failure to floss permit plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth.
  • Genetics — Individuals with a family history of gum disease are at a higher risk of developing it.
  • Diabetes — Diabetes is known to be a risk factor for gum disease.
  • Certain medications — Some prescription drugs for medical conditions like heart disease, hypertension, autoimmune illnesses, and seizures could also affect oral health.
  • Diet — Eating and drinking sugary foods and beverages could also contribute to plaque formation.
  • Crooked teeth — Irregular tooth alignment could make specific spaces challenging to reach with flossing and brushing. Insufficient cleaning can cause plaque to form.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

Signs and symptoms of gum disease include the following:

  • Severe bad breath or halitosis
  • Tenderness and soreness in your gums
  • Challenges chewing
  • Swelling or bleeding in the gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while chewing
  • Gum discharge or pus
  • Tooth loss and loosening

Periodontal disease could also harm an individual's overall health, as it is associated with a whole host of systemic health problems, including the following:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Cardiovascular ailment
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Some types of cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Reproductive health issues

To prevent the worsening of the signs and to safeguard your body’s general health, thorough treatment and ongoing management of the condition are essential to dealing with the infection.

What to Expect During the Dental Procedure

When undergoing a deep teeth cleaning procedure, taking significant preventive measures is not necessary. However, there are steps you should take to lower the possibility of developing complications due to dental treatment.

Part of your preparation includes:

  • Thoroughly cleaning your mouth before your dental appointment — Brushing your teeth and disinfecting your mouth using an antiseptic mouthwash reduces the likelihood of infections. Bacteria could enter your blood during your procedure, so maintaining the population at a minimum lessens the risk of infections.
  • Boosting your immune system — Minor things like getting rest, eating well, and observing proper oral hygiene can aid in lowering inflammation due to periodontal disease and boost your immune system. This routine ensures the immune system is strong enough to withstand bacterial attacks during the dental procedure.

What Takes Place In Tooth Scaling

The dentist will use vibrating equipment known as an ultrasonic scaler to perform your tooth scaling procedure. You should expect the following during the dental process:

  • The dentist will use a water spray on the scaler to clean the tartar and flush plaque from your gum pockets.
  • The dentist will use a vibrating metal tip on the scaler to chip tartar off the teeth above the gum line.
  • Your dental care provider will use a manual dental scaler and a curette (a scraping tool) to remove the remaining tartar pieces.

What Tooth Planing Entails

The only difference between root planing and tooth scaling is that doctors perform the former on teeth’s roots below the gum line.

During this procedure, the doctor will:

  • Utilize the same dental scaling devices to remove tartar from the tooth roots, smoothing them.
  • Utilize a device to mildly push aside the gum tissue, exposing the roots’ surface.
  • Inject antibiotic medications directly into gum pockets

How Many Dental Visits Do You Require for Deep Cleaning?

The total number of dental visits you require for deep cleaning depends mainly on your dentist’s preference and the severity of the oral health condition.

Some providers treat one side of the mouth (lower and upper) in a single visit. Then, finish the other side on a second visit.

On the other hand, other dentists treat every mouth quadrant separately. With this approach, you will visit the dentist four times.

What Occurs Following Deep Cleaning?

Plaque and bacteria are likely to stick to smooth tooth surfaces. Healthy gums reattach firmly to your smoothed tooth roots. Inflammation also reduces as the gums recover.

During the follow-up dental visits, your physician can measure the pockets near the gum tissues. If they are still huge, you might require periodontal surgical procedures. These treatments can include the following:

  • Soft tissue grafting — It replaces lost gum tissues with tissues from a donor or your palate (the mouth of the mouth)
  • Bone grafting replaces lost jawbone with bone from a laboratory-made material or donor.
  • Flap surgery is a pocket reduction procedure that makes gum pockets tinier by lowering the gum line.

Is Deep Cleaning Painful?

Removing plaque from your teeth is not painful; it is like scraping your tooth’s surface. The treatment involves cleaning below your gum line, so if you have sensitive gums, you should discuss pain management options with your physician.

Your doctor can also numb the gums using anesthesia to ensure comfort during the process.

Benefits of Deep Teeth Cleaning

Advantages of deep teeth cleaning include the following:

  • Prevent periodontal disease progress — Without proper treatment, gum disease can worsen. Tooth scaling and planing could lower the risk of the progression of periodontal disease. Severe gum disease is connected to the development of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
  • Eradicates bacteria — A significant benefit of deep teeth cleaning is that it effectively eradicates bacteria during the early stages of gum disease, preventing it from advancing.
  • Improved oral health — Deep teeth cleaning can aid in managing gum infections and removing bacterial matter, resulting in better dental hygiene and fresher breath.
  • Lowers the risk of teeth loss — Another advantage of tooth scaling is reduced frequent bleeding of the gums, preventing loose teeth and, ultimately, tooth loss.
  • Lessened teeth pockets
  • Healthier oral environment —Deep teeth cleaning establishes a healthier dental environment after your dentist cleans the pockets of bacteria and smooths root surfaces.

Complications of Deep Cleaning

Disadvantages of side effects after deep teeth cleaning include:

  • Insufficient dental scaling could loosen teeth, increasing the risk of losing multiple teeth.
  • Deep teeth cleaning can make your gums tender and swollen — Regular dental scaling procedures prevent further buildup of bacteria causing plaque under your gum line, which aids in avoiding complications.
  • Deep cleaning can increase your teeth’s sensitivity to hot or cold food. The treatment involves rubbing the gumline and enamel to remove plaque. The continuous rubbing can result in weak enamel, making the teeth sensitive. Your dentist can avoid this risk by polishing the tooth after the deep cleaning.
  • Insufficient scaling can expose tooth roots after your gums recede, leading to bleeding of the gums. You can experience bleeding while brushing for a few days after the treatment. However, it should disappear within days.
  • Infections — If your immunity is weak, bacteria can cause infection when pulled over from plaque. They can enter your bloodstream and mouth. You can treat the infection by taking antibiotics.

Taking Care For Your Teeth Following Treatment

Following your successful deep teeth cleaning procedure, taking specific measures to ensure proper recovery and maintain dental health is essential. Some aftercare tips include:

  • Rinse the gums — You should rinse the gums using salty water. It will aid in soothing discomfort and accelerating your healing process.
  • Delay before eating — You should wait about hours to permit the anesthetic to wear off and avoid injuring your mouth. Your initial meal should consist of soft foods.
  • Brush gently — Following the dental procedure, the gums could become sensitive. Brush your teeth gently to avoid causing more discomfort or disrupting the healing process. Also, ensure you use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Avoid alcohol — You should refrain from using alcoholic beverages for at least two to three days after the deep teeth cleaning.
  • Prop your head — When lying down, elevating your head using pillows could aid in lessening swelling and pain.
  • Utilize a water flosser — A water flosser could help clean your teeth without irritating the gums.

Deep Cleaning Aftercare: Flossing Your Teeth

Flossing dislodges and cleans food particles from teeth that a toothbrush could miss. It reduces bacteria and plaque in the mouth, which is essential in preventing the development of gum disease and cavities.

It also lowers bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath stems from food particles stuck between the teeth that could be decaying.

Regarding how often you should floss, the practice is not time-intensive. Dentists recommend flossing once a day. It is also wise to floss before brushing to remove food debris.

However, you can floss at least once daily, mainly if food is trapped between the teeth following meals. You cannot over-floss unless you are doing it wrongly. Flossing vigorously or applying pressure can injure your gums and teeth.

How to Floss Effectively

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use standard floss:

  1. Break off approximately twenty-four inches of floss, most of it around the middle fingers, and leave two inches in between the fingers
  2. Hold your floss using the index and thumb fingers
  3. Gently place your floss between the teeth and move it up and down, ensuring you clean all sides of every tooth
  4. After reaching the gums, curve your floss to form the letter “C” and move your floss between the tooth and gums
  5. Repeat the procedure with a clean floss section as you proceed to the next tooth

Even if flossing with braces can be time-consuming, do not skip flossing. The technique illustrated below makes the process seamless and quick. It will help you prevent tooth decay and gum disease while the braces align your teeth for more aesthetics.

  1. Cut about 24 inches of floss.
  2. Thread your floss between your teeth and the braces’ primary wire. Ensure you are in front of a mirror so you can ensure the thread goes to your desired position.
  3. Wrap the floss’ end around the index fingers; it makes handling your floss easier.
  4. Slowly press your floss between two (2) teeth and slide it along the sides of both teeth.
  5. Gently remove your floss and unthread it from behind your brace wire. Be cautious not to pop your floss out of your tooth. Otherwise, you could accidentally knock the wire and pop it out of your braces.
  6. Move to the next tooth and repeat the procedure.

How Much Does Deep Cleaning Cost?

The price of scaling and root planing varies depending on factors like your dentist’s degree of experience and geographical location. You are likely to pay less if your dentist is less experienced or if their dental practice is in a rural area.

You may pay more if it has been long since your last deep cleaning.

Additional services like fluoride treatment and diagnostic imaging can increase the price of your treatment.

You can pay for the treatment with money accumulated through a flexible spending or health savings account. FSA is for an individual with employer-sponsored health coverage plans, while HSA is for someone with a high deductible health plan.

Dental Savings Plan

You can access reduced prices if you have a dental savings plan. It is a membership program, also called a dental discount plan.

The non-insurance program offers discounts on typical dental services. For instance, a dental discount plan can offer twenty to fifty percent off dental cleaning. In other words, if the dentist charges $200 for the procedure and the savings plan provides a 35% discount, you will pay $130.

Do You Require Dental Health Coverage?

Whether you require dental coverage is subjective. It hinges on the amount of risk you can take. Generally, the value of insurance manifests when things go wrong.

For example, the average premium for dental health coverage is around $400 annually. Deep cleaning averages about one hundred and fifty dollars. The insurance might not pay off if you undergo one or two dental cleaning sessions. Nonetheless, dental healthcare costs can be costly if your doctor learns of an oral health issue they should address during the treatment, like periodontal disease or tooth cavities. In this case, dental insurance can ease your financial burden.

Typically, dental insurance firms provide three forms of dental plans, namely:

  • Dental discount savings plans
  • Dental health maintenance organizations (DHMO)
  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)

The best plan for you depends mainly on your medical history. If your dental health is okay and you can use a dental health practitioner within the network, you should choose dental health maintenance organizations. You can select the Preferred Provider Organizations option if you do not want to seek a referral or use a professional in the network.

Ways to Save on Dental Health Care

Some of the resources and places you can find quality health care at a reduced cost include the following:

  • The dentist’s office — Ask your dentist whether they offer flexible payment plans that allow you to pay for the treatment in installments.
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — If your children do not have health coverage, CHIP offers medical and dental insurance for children below 19.
  • Dental school — Typically, dental schools offer affordable dental services so that graduates and students under supervision can gain experience treating patients.
  • Veterans Affairs — You can be eligible for free or reduced dental costs as a veteran under the Veterans Affairs dental benefits.
  • Using charitable organizations

Dealing With Dental Anxiety

If you are anxious about visiting your dentist, you could miss your appointments or take time before visiting your physician. It could result in oral health problems.

So, how do you know if you experience dental anxiety? Patients are uneasy and experience the following distressing signs and symptoms before the treatment:

  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Aggressive conduct
  • Extreme sweating
  • Fainting
  • Crying
  • Hypotension

Dental anxiety could affect individuals of different ages. Luckily, there are some coping strategies to ease your concerns and assist you in getting back in your dentist's chair.

Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises can ease the mind and help you calm down. These dental exercises could lower stress during your dental visits.

Consider closing your eyes and inhaling slowly through the nose. Hold your breath for seconds, then exhale slowly using your mouth. Repeat the process several times.

Communicate Your Fears to Your Dental Healthcare Provider

You should not hesitate to tell your dentist your concerns. They could take measures to eliminate any discomfort. The dentist would discuss every step in the procedure so you understand what to anticipate.

They will also suggest relaxation methods to make you comfortable during the check-up.

Using Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy consists of quieting your conscious mind and establishing a state of calmness. The guided relaxation enables you to achieve a trance state, at which point the hypnotherapist uses the power of suggestion to ease your anxiety. Note that a hypnotherapist cannot do anything that you do not want to do.

Guided Imagery

Another technique consists of visualizing happy thoughts while in the dental chair. Think about positive past memories.

Muscle Relaxation and Meditation

Anxiety could worsen in the dentist's chair or the waiting room. In this scenario, meditation can effectively lower stress and encourage calmness.

It entails heightened focus, muscle relaxation, and awareness you can realize anywhere, even at the dental care provider’s office.

When seated, fix your eyes on a specific object or close your eyes, and permit the body to relax. Focus on various sections of the body and make deliberate efforts to be less tense, relaxing your whole body, beginning with the head to the feet.

You could meditate during and before your dental appointment to remain focused and calm.

Using Distractions

Additionally, being distracted while in the dentist’s office could relieve your anxiety. Consult the dentist ahead of time and confirm whether you could:

  • Watch a movie or TV during your dental check-up
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Read your book

Analgesia Medication

Analgesia is a pain-relieving medication. While you can procure these medications over the counter, doctors use them during dental check-ups to provide relief from pain and lessen anxiety.

Dentists usually utilize nitrous oxide (laughing gas), an odorless or colorless gas you inhale during or before the process. Consult with your insurer to confirm whether they cover nitrous oxide.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia involves being unconscious or asleep during your dentist appointment. Dentists administer it to patients with severe oral health anxiety.

An anesthesiologist should administer the anesthesia. Some dental care practices could provide general anesthesia only if the physician has obtained specialized training.

You should confirm with your insurer whether they cover general anesthesia.

Conscious Sedation

Dentists use conscious sedation for mild to severe oral health anxiety.

The doctor will sedate you a few hours before the deep cleaning treatment. Unlike general anesthesia,  you will not fall asleep during your dental treatment. You will be responsive and conscious but in a relaxed state.

Contact a General Dentist Near Me

Regrettably, a dedicated oral hygiene routine is not guaranteed to prevent periodontal disease. Dr Joseph Goodman offers deep cleaning to remove tartar and plaque below the gum line and smooth your tooth roots to make it harder for plaque to collect. We can work with you during the procedure to ensure you are comfortable. We can also continue monitoring the disease progression whenever you visit our Beverly Hills dental office. For more information about this treatment option and its benefits and to learn more about our general dentistry services, please contact our office at 310-860-9311.