Scaling and Root Planing
Online Dental Education Library
Our patient education section is designed to enable you to learn more about dentistry and oral health related topics. The more we educate each patient, the more informed everyone is about their dental health.
If there is a topic you want to learn more about that you don't find on our website, please let us know.
You will find information ranging from what causes bad breath to how to read x-rays to oral cancer.
Please either click the blue arrow pointing to the right at the bottom of the page or click any of the links below to go directly to that page.
Scaling and Root Planing
We remove the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove the bacteria that contribute to the disease.
Medications may be used with treatment that includes scaling and root planing, but they cannot always take the place of surgery. Depending upon the severity of gum disease, we may still suggest surgical treatment. Long-term studies will be needed to determine whether using medications will reduce the need for surgery and whether they will be effective over a long period of time. Here are some medications that are currently used:
|Medication||What is it?||Why is it used?||How is it used?|
|Prescription antimicrobial mouthrinse||A prescription mouthrinse containing an antimicrobial agent called chlorhexidine||To control bacteria when treating gingivitis and after gum surgery||Used like a regular mouthwash|
|Antiseptic "chip"||A tiny piece of gelatin filled with the medicine chlorhexidine||To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets||After root planing, it's placed in the pockets where the medicine is slowly released over time.|
|Antibiotic gel||A gel that contains the antibiotic doxycycline||To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets||Placed in the pockets after scaling and root planing, the antibiotic is released slowly over a period of about seven days.|
|Antibiotic micro-spheres||Tiny, round particles that contain the antibiotic minocycline||To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets||Micro-spheres placed into the pockets after scaling and root planing, the particles release minocycline slowly over time.|
|Enzyme suppressant||A low dose of the medication doxycycline that keeps destructive enzymes in check||To hold back the body's enzyme response -- If not controlled, certain enzymes can break down gum tissue||This medication is in pill form. It is used in combination with scaling and root planing.|