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Scaling & Root Planing

David Bruce Johnson DDS-Advanced Dentistry Bozeman in Bozeman MT

Gingivitis is a generative disease that left untreated, will cause significant tooth and gum deterioration.  Just the word gingivitis can strike panic in a patient’s mind. The reality is that the treatment is simple and performed right in the dental office.

Plaque and tarter that sits on the teeth provides an environment, which allows bacteria to thrive and multiply.  The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. The condition becomes more noticeable when you brush your teeth or sometimes when you eat. These are signs of the early stage of gingivitis. Gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scale and polish the teeth.  If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress and the roots will need a planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of the dental tartar from the tooth surface Root planing is the process of smoothening the root surfaces and removing the infected tooth structure.

As a non-surgical procedure, scaling and planing is performed without any anesthesia, in the dentist’s office. While the procedure is usually painless, advanced stages of gingivitis may make it necessary to numb the area for complete comfort. Deep scaling and root planing is usually broken down into one section of the mouth per appointment. This allows for adequate healing time, and reduces the time for each appointment.


Once scaling and root planing is performed, it is imperative that you return for regular periodontal cleanings as they are integral in the treatment of gum disease.  These cleaning are scheduled every three months, in -between your regular six month dental cleanings.  Periodontal cleanings are more extensive cleanings that include a deeper cleaning, scaling and planing where indicated, numbing of areas if needed, full mouth probing of  gum pockets, placement of medication beneath the gums if needed, re-evaluation of bone levels and progress after gum treatment, complete review and demonstration of home care.

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