Scaling and Root Planing (SRP): Why Is It Imperative?

Published May 24th, 2016   

If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, one of the first things you’ll hear from your dentist is a recommendation for dental scaling and root planing. Chances are, you don’t know the first thing about either of these terms.

Commonly referred to as SRP, scaling and root planing are a way to not just treat, but to actually reverse the effects of gum disease. They’re the first line of defense in your dentist’s periodontal arsenal. SRP can end your bout with gum disease quickly, eliminating the need for invasive surgery.

We’ve put together a primer on SRP, which should answer all your questions about your condition and why you need to get it treated as soon as possible.

How to Treat SRP: What Is Scaling and Root Planing?

Let’s first break down each step:

  • Scaling is using instruments to remove the plaque and tartar on the tooth and root. The hygienist usually uses a hand instrument to scrape these away, though ultrasonic tools that employ sonic vibrations to loosen the calculus may also be used. The instruments also dip into the gum and along the root of the tooth to eliminate the plaque and tartar buildup that’s inflaming the gum.
  • Root planing is when the dentist soothes and smooths the roots of your teeth, ensuring the gums will reattach where they’ve been pulled away to clean. Planing can also attack any difficult spots on the teeth or root that need extra attention.

Scaling and Root Planing Effectiveness

It’s vital your hygienist performs SRP to get your mouth healthy again right away. If you put off SRP, your dental hygiene could be put at risk. Gum disease that’s not treated may eventually require invasive surgery or even removal of some teeth.

SRP can stop the progression of gum disease immediately. When patients take care of their teeth after the procedure, they usually get rid of the problem altogether. This saves the patient in three key ways:

  • It saves time. SRP usually takes two visits to complete. Invasive surgery can take days or weeks to recover from.
  • It saves money. SRP is cheaper than surgery or getting a crown to replace rotted teeth.
  • It saves pain. SRP is performed quickly, and ultrasonic instruments cause little discomfort compared to the pain and hassle of surgery.

How to Treat Scaling and Root Planing: Tips for Your Visit

You will be numbed to avoid discomfort. Some pain is natural, but if you’re in intense pain afterward, you should call your dentist for a follow-up.

You may alleviate swelling and keep your mouth clean by rinsing with warm saltwater. Finally, make sure to practice good oral hygiene going forward, such as brushing and flossing, to head off future plaque and tartar buildup.

Do You Need SRP Dental Hygiene?

If you need a scaling and root planing procedure, contact our office near Glendale, AZ, today to set up an appointment.