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Scaling & Root Planing


What is scaling and root planing?

Allatoona Family Dental, along with AAP (American Academy of Periodontology) treatment guidelines, stresses that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment, including scaling and root planing, which is a professional cleaning of the root surfaces below the gumline to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the root surface to remove bacterial toxins.

Dentists and periodontists agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further treatment such as surgical therapy. However, almost all patients will require ongoing periodontal maintenance therapy to help prevent disease progression. However, non-surgical therapy does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal disease.

The following are the steps that we will take in order to improve your current periodontal condition:

Part 1- Scaling and Root Planing will be performed on either the right or left side of your mouth. You will be given either Oraqix (a topical numbing gel made specifically for periodontal applications) or local anethesia to make you comfortable for this procedure. Depending on the extent of your periodontal disease, your insurance plan, associated costs, and time management this procedure may be done in one appointment or broken up into separate appointments

Part 2- A Post Op visit must be one (1) month after the Scaling and Root Planing Therapy was performed. This visit will be a no charge appointment if it is scheduled, kept and completed within 6 weeks of the last root planing appointment. This is a very crucial appointment so we can assess how well your gum tissue has responded. We will also evaluate your gum tissue in order to place you on the correct recall interval or to refer to a specialist if necessary. Generally, you will be having your dental periodontal maintenance cleanings performed every 3 or 4 months. If you do not return to this appointment close to one month after the Scaling and Root Planing is performed, you may have to repeat the complete treatment. If you have insurance, most insurance plans only cover these procedures once every few years. Therefore, if you have to repeat the treatment you could have to pay out of pocket. It is very important to remember that your careful home oral hygiene routine, followed exactly as your hygienist has recommended, is essential and ultimately determines the success of this therapy.

Part 3- Periodontal Maintenance - After the post-op follow up is completed, you will be placed on a recall schedule for periodontal maintenance, or referred to a specialist for further treatment. At the periodontal maintenance visits you will have an exam by the doctor and a periodontal maintenance cleaning performed by the hygienist, which includes cleaning into the periodontal pockets. Depending on your dental insurance coverage, these visits or a portion there of may be required to be paid out of pocket.

*It is important to understand that there is no cure for periodontal disease. Even if you maintain these routine maintenance visits, it is possible for this episodic disease to return and require retreatment starting with visit one. However, with regular periodontal maintenance recalls (generally every 3 months) and excellent oral hygiene home care it is much more likely to keep periodontal disease under control

What’s the difference between cleaning and scaling?

Regular cleanings remove the sticky plaque and build up above the gumline, while scaling removes the tartar, bacteria, and debris below the gumline.