Scaling and Root Planing
The emphasis in our practice is conservative periodontal therapy. Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease can be definitively treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy.
The initial periodontal therapy for periodontal disease is also called scaling and root planing. This is a thorough, deep cleaning sometimes done with local anesthetics. It includes scaling with special instruments to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gum line.
Root planing is then performed to smooth the roots and to remove the bacterial layer which has imbedded itself in the top layer of the root. Initial Periodontal Therapy (IP) allows the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment. After this procedure is performed, with effective oral hygiene the gum tissues shrink and heal, allowing for reduction of the periodontal pocket. Even in the most severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical therapy most often precedes surgical treatment. This is done to improve the quality of tissue prior to surgery, and also limit the areas of required surgery.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Dr. Cullen or his hygienist to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.