Is Scale and Root Planing Painful

You have been brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled brush, flossing, and rinsing with an oral rinse, but the dentist just told you that you have gum disease. Don’t worry! The dentist can help you treat that stubborn gum disease with a treatment called dental scaling and root planning. This step is non-surgical and is a way to keep your periodontitis from getting worse.

Everyone has a small amount of plaque on their teeth at any given time but when you have gum disease the bacteria from the plaque has progressed below the gumline. The bacteria causes inflammation in the gums and causes the gums to move away from the tooth’s surface. The separation causes a small pocket to develop which is a place for bacteria to remain and continue to grow which will only make the condition worse. If the gum disease continues to go untreated, the tooth can start to loosen, decay, and fall out.
Dental scaling and root planning is also used to clean your mouth before other dental procedures. If you have a gum surgery scheduled or another procedure, the dentist may want to remove any potentially problematic bacteria before creating an incision where the bacteria can be an avoidable risk.

Is Dental Scaling Necessary?

During the dental exam, the dentist will measure the distance that your gums have receded from your teeth. Once the gums have moved more than four millimeters, the dentist may suggest dental scaling. It is more thorough than a traditional cleaning because a traditional cleaning addresses the surface of the tooth above the gumline. Scaling addresses plaque and bacteria below the gum line so it becomes necessary based on how serious the plaque has progressed in your mouth.

Types of Dental Scaling Tools

Dentists can choose between two types of instruments to complete dental scaling or they may even use a combination of the two.

The first type are hand held instruments called dental scalers and curettes. The dentist will manually scrape to remove the plaque based on the feel of the surface until it is smooth.
The second type are ultrasonic tools. The instrument is a metal tip that vibrates and uses a stream of cool water to flush out the area and keep the tip cool.

Does Dental Scaling Hurt?

No matter the tool the dentist uses, they are working below the gums and scraping your teeth. If you have sensitive gums or find that you are easily uncomfortable during dental appointments, take time to talk to the dentist before your scaling appointment. The dentist can numb your gums with a local anesthetic to keep you free from pain while they are working. After the procedure you may find that your gums are a little sensitive or that it is uncomfortable to bite down on hard foods. Your mouth should feel better by the next day but reach out to the dentist if you find that you are not feeling any better.

Scale and Root Planing Aftercare

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