What Is Root Planing?


If you have receding gums, a sign of gum disease, the most common way to treat it is to undergo root planing.

This treatment procedure is also sometimes called root scaling. It is a process wherein the tooth, which accumulated tartar and plaque, is scraped off the surface.

As gum disease progresses, the gums will recede, and they will be replaced by mineral deposits (tartar). The affected teeth will further develop cavities or holes, and will cause inflammation or infection. Before this occurs, a root planing procedure is best done to prevent further damage.

How the Treatment is Done

Dentists will use a scraping or an ultrasonic tool to help remove the tartar buildup around the teeth and gums. This procedure may be a little painful, so your dentist may apply an anesthetic around the gums.

After the procedure, your gums and lips may feel numb for a few hours as the anesthetic wears off.

Root planing and scaling procedures tend to cause bleeding along the gum line since the previously impacted plaque and tartar are all removed. You dentist will also give you antibiotics prior to and after the procedure to minimize the risk of infection, and hasten the healing processed.

Things to Do After a Root Planing Procedure

Root scaling and planing can work wonders towards effectively treating gum disease before it worsens. After undergoing the procedure, make sure to strictly adhere to best dental health practices, so that the disease will not come back. Here are the things you should continually do after a root scaling and planing procedure:

1. Floss and brush your teeth regularly.

Plaque and tartar buildup will continue if you do not follow correct oral health practices. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth after every meal to prevent recurrence.

2. Stop smoking.

Tobacco use is associated with an increased likelihood of developing gum disease. If you still continue to smoke after a root planing procedure, your gum’s chances for healing is greatly decreased; hence, your overall gum health will continually be compromised if you continue your smoking habits.

3. Continue taking antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist.

Typical antibiotic use lasts between 7 to 14 days or 1 to 2 weeks. If your dentist prescribes you with an antibiotic medication after a root planing or scaling procedure, you should take the medication for the entire duration prescribed. In this case, antibiotics are used as prophylactic medication in case infection sets in after your procedure. Taking the prescribed antibiotics for the entire prescribed duration will help ensure that you do not develop an infection.

Now that you are aware of what root planing is, it would be best to visit your dentist to have your dental problems corrected.