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Root Planing: Purpose and Procedure

gum diseaseGum disease is a very threatening oral health condition. In its advanced stages, gum (periodontal) disease can cause tooth loss, bone deterioration, and a systemic oral infection. When periodontal disease cannot be managed by regular prophylaxis and proper oral hygiene, professional treatment is necessary to help offset this condition’s many negative effects. One common method for managing periodontal disease is a treatment called root planing. Performed by our periodontist (a dentist with additional training and education to treat conditions that affect the gums), root planing is a non-surgical method for removing the irritants that cause gum disease along the roots of teeth.

Why Root Planing is Necessary

Plaque is a somewhat translucent film of bacteria that coats teeth. Even if you brush and floss properly, some plaque is still left behind. When exposed to calculus, plaque hardens into tartar. Both plaque and tartar can build up along the gum-line—especially when patients do not practice proper oral hygiene or receive professional cleanings every six months. When tartar accumulates along the gum line, the gums will pull away from teeth. As the gums recede, the roots of teeth become exposed to plaque and tartar, and these substances continue to build up deep in the gums and along the roots of teeth. When a regular dental cleaning is not enough, root planing is recommended.

How Root Planing Works

Most of the time, root planing is accompanied by another method of cleaning called scaling. Scaling gently scrapes away tartar and plaque below the gums while root planing is a process that smoothes the roots of teeth. Tartar roughens the roots of teeth and therefore weakens the natural bond between gingival tissue and teeth. After irritants are removed by scaling, root planing smoothes the surfaces of the roots of teeth so that gums have an easier surface to attach to.

Receiving root planing and scaling can prevent the onset of advanced and aggressive gum disease. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with our periodontist. Call the office of Benjamin T. Duval DDS, LLC today to reserve a consultation.