Shoreline Family Dental Logo

Maria Hoekstra, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
Jacqueline Anderson, D.D.S.
Thomas E. Anderson, D.D.S.

616-399-9520

Our Office Hours are:

Monday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday: 8am-5pm
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Thursday: 8am-5pm
Friday: 7am-1pm

Scaling and Root Planing

Nobody plans on getting gum disease, but it happens -- to most of the population, in fact! Like cavities, gum disease is caused by a buildupof dental plaque bacteria, resulting in dental calculus, or dental tartar.Overtime, dental plaque and its cohorts will creep beneath the gumline,forming"pockets" between the teeth and gums. The larger these pocketsgrow, the worse gum disease gets. Dental calculus forming below the gumline is of great concern. Think about it: If you dropped change into the pockets of your jeans every day and couldn't remove it, soon it would weighyou down so much that you wouldn't be able to walk! As dental calculus fills the pockets of your gums, it starts to destroy the bone, greatly impairing your teeth aswell.

Although you can eventually unload the pockets of your pants yourself, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove the dental calculus that has accumulated in the pockets of your gums. A non-surgical approach known as scaling, is the first in a series of periodontal procedures used for gum disease treatment. During tooth scaling, an instrument called a scaler is used to remove dental plaqueand dental calculus from beneath the gums. While it's a common practice to manually scrape away deposits, our dental office is equipped with ultrasonic dental cleaners, which use ultrasound vibrations to break up dental calculus.

Once the dental plaque and dental calculus have been removed, the area that has been scraped leaves a jagged appearance. Root Planing is the procedure used to smooth the tooth's root. Why is this necessary? Root Planing helps gums heal: It's easier for gums to reattach themselves to a smoother root than one still suffering from the results of gum disease. The smooth surface also helps keep dental plaque from attacking the tooth's root, making it easier to maintain the gums following dental treatment. While scaling and root planning helps prevent gum disease from spreading, it may be able to reverse the signs of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.

Although dental scaling isn't painful, dental anesthesia is usually available for those who experience sensitivity.¬† Our office also uses a topical form of anesthetic, which works wonderful for gum procedures such as this. Most patients can return to their regular activities following the scaling procedure.

In some cases, scaling is performed as part of an ongoing periodontal treatment program to achieve results. If gum disease continues to progress, other forms of gum disease treatment may be required.  Sometimes we refer patients onto a Periodontist, a gum disease specialist, if we are not getting the positive results from our therapy.

Once scaling is complete, preventative care is necessary to keep gums healthy. Although gum disease can never be cured, proper oral hygiene can curb the problems that started it in the first place. Brushing and flossing daily will help fight the dental plaque that is constantly forming around teeth. Regular dental visits are also required to remove the dental calculus you've missed.

A simple procedure like scaling can reduce the disease's effects and restore gums to a healthy state. Without proper treatment, gum disease can progress -- literally to the point of no return! Remember: Once gum tissue is lost, it doesn't grow back. The earlier you treat gum disease, the better chance you have of recovery.