Debridement, Scaling, And Root Planing: A Look At The Deep Cleanings Available At The Dentist

Regular dental cleanings play a vital role in general dental treatment and maintaining your oral health and catching any potential problems before long-term damage occurs. But if you don't visit the dentist regularly, the simple cleanings might not provide enough of a cleanse for the dentist to successfully examine and treat any underlying problems. When a deep clean becomes necessary, your general or family dentist might turn to either a debridement or a scaling and root planing.

What are these different deep cleanings and how can this help your overall oral health?

Dental Debridement

Dental debridement is the procedure used when extremely thick layers of plaque and tarter have formed on teeth that haven't received a dental cleaning in quite some time. The dentist will use handheld tools and ultrasonic tools that use a combination of vibrations and pressurized water to provide a deep clean to the teeth.

The intensiveness of this cleaning will require the dentist to numb your gums, which are likely sensitive due to gingival disease and will bleed some during the cleaning. Once the cleaning is complete, the dentist can properly examine the teeth for signs of cavities. The cleaning might prove enough of a treatment to cure minor problems like the gingival disease, while others will need follow-up appointments and treatments.

 Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing involves the use of similar tools to the debridement but differ in that this type of cleaning is done specifically to clear up a diagnosed gum disease such as gingivitis or periodontitis. The dentist will focus the tools on both the surface of the teeth and on the surface of the soft tissue to ensure that all harmful oral bacteria is cleared away.

Gum disease can cause the soft tissue to become so inflamed that the tissue starts to pull away from the bases of the teeth in pockets. The pockets collect more oral bacteria, worsening the infection, and can get larger over time. During a scaling and root planing, the dentist will clean out these pockets thoroughly. The cleansing alone can cure up the inflammation enough that the gums will start to heal back into place. If not, the dentist can perform a gum surgery to cut off the excess tissue and stitch the remaining gums back into proper positioning.

Remember that you can easily avoid these deep cleanings and the associated discomfort and inconvenience. Schedule your regular cleanings with your dentist and follow the recommended oral healthcare advice and the standard annual cleanings should remain the only kind you need.