Scaling & Root Planing


Cleaning of teeth also called as Oral Prophylaxis / Scaling – Here the dental plaque (the soft food debri) and dental Calculus (hardened food debri, bacteria and their toxic products) are removed from the surface of the teeth which is above the gum line. This is done with an ultrasonic instrument called scaler which runs at a speed of 20000 – 30000 rpm. Usually blunt ultrasonic tips are used to remove the plaque and calculus safely without damaging the teeth. 

Myths about cleaning of teeth :

*Teeth become loose after cleaning – By the time the patient seeks cleaning of teeth,there could be adequate loss of bone surrounding the teeth. However ,the calculus (hardened plaque) surrounding the teeth,holds these teeth together. Once the dentist cleans and removes the calculus, the mobility of the teeth becomes obvious and so often the patient assume that because the teeth were cleaned they became loose.

*Gaps are created after cleaning – The bacteria around the gums surrounding the teeth,release harmful toxins to the bone and thereby bone shrinks creating a gap between the teeth. As the gaps become wider, more and more plaque gets accumulated. Once the dentist removes the calculus, the gaps which were already created by the plaque now becomes evident.

*Sensitivity after cleaning – As the bone shrinks, the roots of teeth (made of cementum) get exposed. Cementum is not covered by enamel unlike the crown portion of teeth and so are sensitive to air and water once they are exposed.

*Repeated cleaning of teeth can damage the teeth or enamel – If the teeth are not cleaned regularly atleast once in 6 months,over a period of time teeth can become loose on their own

Root planing, a form of deep cleaning ,is performed to remove or eliminate plaque and calculus, which cause gums to be inflamed. This deep cleaning helps to keep the specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth free of periodontal disease.