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Scaling and Root Planing

A Cleaning That Stops Gum Disease In Its Tracks

When it comes to your smile, your gums are every bit as important as your teeth. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss! With that in mind, our team at East Islip Dental Care keeps a close eye on your gums at every visit. When they’re healthy, regular six-month cleanings are enough to remove any plaque and tartar buildup and keep your smile in great shape. But when gum disease sets in and creates deeper pockets around your teeth, regular cleanings are no longer adequate for removing all the buildup. This is where a “deep cleaning” called scaling and root planing comes in. Along with ongoing care from our team and good oral hygiene at home, this procedure is the first step in maintaining lifelong oral health. Keep reading below about this effective gum disease treatment, and feel free to contact us anytime with questions or to schedule an appointment.

What Is the Scaling and Root Planing Procedure Like?

We generally do this procedure over 2-4 appointments, depending on the extent of your gum disease and how much plaque and tartar buildup you have. Here are the basic steps involved:

  • First, we’ll numb your gums to make sure you stay comfortable. We also offer nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) and other types of sedation to help anxious or fearful patients feel at ease.
  • Then one of our gentle, highly-trained hygienists will use special instruments to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar deposits (this is called scaling).
  • Lastly, we’ll plane, or smooth, any rough areas on the roots of your teeth. This minimizes the buildup of bacteria in the future and lowers your chances of reinfection.

How Does Scaling and Root Planing Benefit You?

As mentioned earlier, gum disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss. As it destroys the supportive structures that surround your teeth, they can eventually become loose and fall out. Equally important, countless studies have shown that gum disease increases your risk of serious health problems such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, and even some cancers. With gum scaling, you can lower all of these risks.

Maintaining Your Progress After Scaling and Root Planing

As a dentist, we want to make sure gum disease treatment is effective in both the short-term and the long-term. And while gum disease can’t be cured, you can keep it from getting worse.

To maintain improvements after scaling and root planing, we’ll recommend coming in for periodontal maintenance visits every 3, 4, or 6 months, depending on your needs. In addition to removing plaque, tartar and bacteria, this allows us to monitor your gums and make sure we catch any signs of trouble early on. In addition, we’ll give you personalized tips for keeping your teeth and gums clean at home, which will be an essential part of your long-term success.