Scale and Root Planing Risks

After the dentist has told you that you have gum disease and that you need to have a deep cleaning to address it, dental scaling and root planing are scheduled for your next dental appointment. Scaling will help stop the gum disease where it is at and will help it from getting worse. The removal of the plaque from below the gum line will help the gums reattach to the teeth and shrink the pockets where bacteria formerly was. The dentist will help you stay comfortable during the procedure by using a local anesthetic to numb your gums while the work happens in those more sensitive areas.


While gum disease is dangerous and can lead to serious health and dental problems for you, dental scaling and root planning comes with its own set of risks. The first risk is that the procedure may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream and any cuts in the gum tissue could allow the bacteria to infect the gums. Depending on your health conditions and personal history with infection, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic before and after the treatment to minimize your risk. Be sure to talk to the dentist if you have any of the following conditions:
* Heart problems
* Risk for heart infection or endocarditis
* Impaired immune system
* Ineffective immune responses
* Recent major surgeries
* Man-made body parts like hips or heart valves

Another risk of dental scaling and root planning is not having the procedure completed when the dentist determines that it is needed to address your periodontal disease. If you allow your gum disease to progress, you could end up losing a tooth, having an abscess tooth, or experiencing serious tooth decay among other issues. The first phase of dental scaling and root planning is known for offering the most substantial results in stopping and improving gum disease. The periodontium improves in its overall health allowing it to support the teeth properly. When the gums attach to the teeth properly, the space where bacteria can develop and remain is smaller or is eliminated. The tooth roots are protected from decay when the gums are attached properly.

Other risks and complications presented by dental scaling and root planning include:
* A potential reaction to the antibiotics
* A potential reaction to the local anesthetic
* Bleeding after the procedure
* Increased gum sensitivity
* Discomfort when biting down on hard food following the procedure
* Pain during the procedure
* Bruising on the lips or cheeks
* Swelling of the gums or other areas of the mouth
* Infection in the gums
* Increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
Risks and complications presented by avoiding dental scaling and root planing include:
* Noticeable changes to your teeth as the gums recede
* Increased crown visibility along the gum
* Exposure of the surface of the root as the gums recede
* Tooth pain
* Root pain
* Needed changes to your at home oral hygiene routine to address larger gaps and space around teeth
* Loose teeth
* Teeth falling out completely

What is Scale and Root Planning

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