Dental scaling is routinely performed to help patients with gum disease and excessive plaque buildup. While a standard cleaning will address the surface of the tooth, scaling goes much deeper. If your dentist suggests dental scaling and root planing for your teeth, it’s helpful to know what this means so you can prepare for what’s ahead.
If plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums, which means that they bleed more easily. You may notice this if you are brushing your teeth, or eating, and sometimes your gums may bleed a bit. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. Most adults have some degree of gum disease.
If gingivitis is not treated and nothing is done about it, the inflammation will work its way down towards the foundations of the tooth causing a “periodontal pocket” and can cause more damage.
Gum disease can break down the support (bone) structures of the teeth, so that eventually, they will become loose. The problem is that until it gets quite severe, the person often has no symptoms. Sadly, the damage to the support structures of the teeth is irreversible. The good news is that if gum disease is caught in time, its progression can be halted and improved upon, and that is the key.