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Scaling and Root Planing for Gum Disease

Smiling is a powerful tool for connection and well-being. However, scaling and root planing (S.R.P.) can be a game-changer if gum disease damages your smile. This non-surgical procedure is a deep cleaning that tackles gum disease at its source, promoting better oral health and a brighter smile. At Wicker Park Dental, our experienced team offers top-notch scaling and root planing treatments to combat gum disease and promote optimal oral health


What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar (calculus) at the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth every day. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria that irritate the gums, causing inflammation and bleeding.


Left untreated, gum disease can progress to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting your teeth. In its most advanced stages, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

How Does Scaling and Root Planing Help?

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for gum disease, particularly in its early stages. It’s often called a “deep cleaning” because it removes plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, where regular brushing and flossing can’t reach.

The procedure typically involves two parts:


Your dentist or hygienist will use specialized instruments, like ultrasonic or hand scalers, to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, including below the gum line.

Root Planing

After removing the buildup, the dentist will smooth out the rough surfaces of your tooth roots. This promotes gum tissue reattachment to the teeth and helps prevent future infection.

What to Expect During Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a relatively comfortable procedure. Your dentist will likely numb the area with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, the procedure may be completed in one or two appointments.

Here’s a general breakdown of what to expect


Before the procedure, your dentist will discuss your gum health, medical history, and any concerns you may have. X-rays might be taken to assess the extent of bone loss.

The Procedure

You’ll be comfortably seated in the dental chair. Anesthesia will be administered, followed by scaling and root planing of each affected tooth section.


Your dentist will provide specific instructions on caring for your gums after S.R.P. This typically involves gentle brushing and flossing, using a prescribed mouthwash, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing offers numerous benefits for your oral health, including:


Reduced gum inflammation and bleeding: By removing plaque and tartar, S.R.P. helps control the bacterial growth that irritates the gums. This leads to healthier, less inflamed gums that are less likely to bleed.


Improved periodontal health: S.R.P. helps prevent the progression of gum disease and promotes gum tissue healing.


Reduced risk of tooth loss: By halting the progression of gum disease, S.R.P. can help save your teeth.


Fresher breath: Eliminating bacteria and tartar buildup helps combat bad breath.


Improved overall health: Studies suggest a link between gum disease and other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Maintaining good oral health through S.R.P. can contribute to better overall health.

Who Needs Scaling and Root Planing?

Your dentist can recommend scaling and root planing if you have gum disease, particularly in its early stages (gingivitis). Signs that you might need S.R.P. include:


  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

Maintaining Healthy Gums After S.R.P.ll

Following S.R.P., good oral hygiene is crucial to maintaining healthy gums and preventing gum disease recurrence. Here are some essential practices:


  • Brushing: Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Pay close attention to the gum line.


  • Flossing: Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.


  • Regular dental checkups: Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, typically every six months, for professional monitoring of your gum health.


  • Healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to support overall health and gum health.

Scaling and Root Planing: A Step Towards a Healthier Smile

Scaling and root planing is a safe and effective way to combat gum disease and promote healthy gums. By removing harmful bacteria and promoting gum healing, S.R.P. can help you achieve a healthier smile and overall well-being. 


Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning that tackles gum disease at its source. It can help prevent further damage, freshen your breath, and keep your smile healthy. Talk to your dentist today to see if S.R.P. is right for you.

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