Eating, breathing, or drinking increases the chances of plaque formation between our teeth. Plaque is a colorless or pale yellow bacteria film that forms on a person’s teeth. When someone fails to brush their teeth, it becomes more noticeable. A build-up of plaque can cause tooth decay, and in the advanced stages, it can result in gum disease. When one suffers from gum disease that is not treated early, it is possible to suffer from tooth loss. Scaling and root planing are among the services that we offer at the Encino Dentist to remove plaque and tartar. Visit us today so that we can deep clean your gums to avoid decay caused by a build-up of plaque around your gums.

When do Dentists Recommend Scaling and Root Planing?

Routine cleaning of your teeth is recommended every six months or thereabout. This cleaning is about scaling your teeth and gum line to rid you off tartar and plaque. It also involves polishing to ensure the surface is smooth as well as removing stains.

However, if you develop symptoms of gum disease, your dentist may recommend a procedure known as scaling and root planing. We all want ideal dental hygiene, making many people keep their dentist’s appointments. A build-up of plaque and tartar can result in the damaging of the gum tissue through a gum disease known as periodontal.

When a person has healthy gums, they tightly fit on each tooth. The suggested measurement from where the gum attaches to a tooth to the gum line should be between one and three millimeters deep. However, once plaque, bacteria, and tartar collect under and around the gum area, one may develop periodontal disease. This is a gum disease that will cause deep pockets between the gum and teeth.

When a person shows advanced symptoms of periodontal disease such as accumulation of heavy tartar, bad breath, and deep unhealthy pockets, your dentist may suggest scaling and root planing. Patients with chronic periodontitis can also use this procedure to rid themselves of excessive plaque.

Chronic periodontal illness happens when your gums pull away from your teeth due to bacteria. When these pockets are formed, more bacteria and plaque accumulate in the pockets. It is not easy to clean the plaque or bacteria through regular brushing. Dentists highly recommend flossing to get to the areas that regular brushing cannot reach. When this disease is not treated, it can lead to detrimental consequences. Some people lose their teeth, their tissues and bones wear out, teeth become loose and start to move.

Many people suffer from this disease. Various reasons are known to be the cause of this disease. They include:

  • Aging – the older a person gets, the more their gum tissue and bones get worn out
  • Smoking – tartar is collected on the teeth from smoking
  • Poor hygiene – when you don’t clean your mouth and teeth properly, you develop the risk of bacteria and plaque accumulating in your mouth, on your teeth and gum line. Maintaining good dental hygiene will reduce the risk of suffering from chronic periodontal disease.
  • Hormonal changes can also cause wearing down of gum tissues, leading to gum disease
  • Poor nutrition – some foods are known to increase the accumulation of plaque. Excessive consumption of cakes, sugary foods, carbohydrates, and fats can lead to plaque accumulation.
  • Family history – some of these diseases can be hereditary. If your family members tend to suffer from periodontal disease, you are more likely to develop issues as well.
  • Other underlying medical conditions.

Aside from the deep pockets found between your teeth and gums, there are other signs of periodontal disease. These include:

  • Tender, inflamed, or red gums
  • Bleeding gums – although this symptom can point to other conditions, for periodontal disease, it is the most prevalent symptom. Bleeding of the gums can be caused by aggressive brushing of teeth or by dentures that do not fit properly. However, when the bleeding is more frequent, it could be a sign of periodontal disease.
  • Bad breath – many people suffer from breath odor from time to time. Your bad breath could be originating from your teeth or mouth as a whole. If your gums or teeth are decaying, they will often produce an unpleasant odor.
  • Movements of your permanent teeth – teeth are supposed to fit in place and not move. When you experience your teeth shifting, it may be a sign that the gums no longer hold them firmly in place. This may be an indication of periodontal disease, making it essential to get a professional opinion.
  • Change in how you bite – if you are no longer able to take take a hard bite as before, you could be having gum disease.

The Procedure

It may take several appointments to get your teeth thoroughly cleaned to remove plaque or tartar. The process can cause some discomfort, and in most cases, dentists use a local anesthetic to make their patients more comfortable. Scaling is often compared to removing a splinter from a finger. The procedure involves scraping off all the plaque, tartar, and bacterial toxins deposited on the surface of your teeth and gums. Afterward, root planing is performed to smoothen every roughness on the surface of your roots. When the root surfaces are smooth, bacteria, tartar, and plaque are kept away from attaching themselves below the gum line. This allows healing of your gums as they go back to attaching themselves around each tooth firmly.

If the periodontal condition was severe, your dentist might suggest further treatment with consideration of your gums and teeth. He or she may opt for antimicrobial agents or give you an antibiotics prescription to be taken for a few days and help with the healing.

Sometimes, your dentist may find it necessary to enhance the correction of the effects of periodontitis that has been recurrent. A process known as host modulation may also be recommended. In addition to correcting the negative effects of gum disease, the process reduces the risk of further infection. Other times, complete mouth disinfection may also be recommended for a patient.

What Happens After the Procedure?

After scaling and root planing procedure, it is essential to arrange a follow-up check-up visit with your dentist. Your dentist will check to ensure your gums are healing correctly and how your pockets are responding. Fortunately, swollen and red gums often heal well, becoming pink and firm once again. As the pockets adjust in size to become smaller, the bleeding will be reduced, and in some cases, it is eliminated. When the dentist establishes that the tissue around your gums have healed well and is stable, the dentist may not suggest further visits.

However, when a person suffers from advanced periodontal problems, your dentist may suggest surgical intervention. This is typically done once scaling, and root planing has been done to eliminate bone loss progression. However, if you often go for root planing and scaling, your need for surgery is greatly lessened.

Periodontal Maintenance

Once you have undergone a periodontal treatment, you are required to have a maintenance schedule irrespective of whether the treatment was nonsurgical or surgical. Most dentists recommend a visit every two to four months. The visits are necessary to clean your teeth of any possible plaque accumulation and avoid the recurrence of the gum disease. Your gum tissues are carefully examined as well as monitoring your gum pockets and their depths. Gum recession is also monitored.

We also recommend the following to prevent the formation of plaque:


  • Brush your teeth at least two times a day to avoid the build-up of plaque. Attention must be put in the spaces where teeth and gums join. Ensure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the gums. A toothpaste containing fluoride is also recommended as it fights bacteria.
  • To remove particles from food in between the teeth, flossing once a day is highly recommended.
  • Use a mouthwash that is antibacterial to reduce the accumulation of bacteria responsible for gum disease.
  • Have a routine dental check-up at least every six months, and get your teeth cleaned as well.
  • To protect teeth from developing cavities or decaying, some dentists will recommend the use of dental sealant. Discuss if using one is appropriate for you, and if it is, how to get it done.
  • A balanced diet helps in keeping your body healthy. Ensure your meals are balanced and reduce snacking between meals. When one feels the need for a snack, choosing a healthy alternative is best. Try cheese, yogurt, raw vegetables, or fruits. Some vegetables have properties that assist in removing food from the spaces. These properties also help in neutralizing the acids that cause plaque. Celery is an excellent vegetable with these properties.

Find a Dentist Near Me

Dental hygiene is an essential aspect of every person’s health. Accumulation of tartar and plaque can lead to bad breath or bleeding gums. Having regular dental appointments to clean your teeth at least every six months is vital if you want to avoid dental diseases. Preventing the onset of gum diseases by ensuring you get your teeth scaled and roots planned is essential to your health. If you need advice on how to take care of your teeth as well as scaling and root planing services, you need to go to a reputable and experienced dental clinic such as Encino Dentist. Call us at 818-650-0429 today to make an appointment.