Dentist New Albany
Scaling and Root Planning
“Scaling” is a procedure during which the hygienist will remove plaque from the lower part of the teeth, below the gum line. Scaling can be done manually by scraping with a metal tool, or it can be done with an electric instrument. “Root planing” is a procedure during which the hygienist smooths the surfaces of the lower teeth, below the gum line. Scaling and root planing are usually done in conjunction with one another. Scaling and root planing both usually require the patient to be numb.
When our doctors recommend scaling and root planing, we plan the procedure in a series of visits. We visually separate the mouth into four areas, called quadrants (upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left). Sometimes the hygienist will work in only one quadrant per visit, but we typically work in two quadrants at a time. It is possible to complete all four quadrants in one visit.
Diseased gum tissue is removed by a process called a “gingivectomy”. The doctor will numb the area. The doctor will then use a laser to reshape the gums by cutting away diseased gum tissue. The laser simultaneously removes the tissue and cauterizes the area, so bleeding is nearly nonexistent. Similar to scaling and root planing, gingivectomies are typically done in quadrants.
The doctor may give you a prescription for an antibiotic mouth rinse containing a drug called “chlorhexidine”. This rinse is most commonly sold under the retail name Peridex. The doctor may also prescribe the local antibiotic “minocycline”, also known as Arestin. Arestin comes in tiny microspheres that are inserted below the gum tissue by the hygienist. Arestin is significantly more effective than an oral antibiotic because it works directly at the site.