What is root planing for?
Periodontitis can be cured except when it has become very advanced. This is why treatment must begin as soon as possible. You must first be shown how to brush your teeth properly and how to clean between your teeth. It is your responsibilty to clean your teeth in this way every day. The dentist or hygienist will then remove the calculus from the pockets. This is done by scaling and root planing, which may require several visits.
As the crowns and roots become clean, the inflammation will disappear, and the gums will tighten up around the root surfaces. Any redness or swelling in the gums should disappear and loose teeth may become firmer.
Sometimes, if the pocket is deep, some of the bacteria will get left behind. In this case, the dentist will need to use a dental antibiotic, such as Colgate Elyzol Dental Gel.
Your dentist will place the gel into the pocket around your tooth. The gel melts to fill the entire pocket and starts killing bacteria straight away. The saliva in your mouth turns the gel solid and it will not be removed if you eat, drink or brush your teeth, but you should not floss for 24 hours after the application.
Dentists and hygienists use two types of tool for root planing:
- Hand scalers come in different sizes and shapes, to reach different parts of the teeth. This is why you will see the dentist or hygienist changing instruments quite often;
- Electric scalers use very fast vibration with water. The water is removed from your mouth using suction. A hand scaler is used to check whether the roots are completely cleaned of deposits.
After a root has been planed, the pocket should shrink, making the gum sit closer to the tooth. You then need to be especially careful about cleaning the teeth above the gum-line. Root planing will probably need to be repeated at intervals.
More information about gum disease.