You might be well aware of the fact that it's typically recommended for adults to see a dentist a couple of times a year for an exam and basic cleaning. If you have gum disease or have not been in for a dental cleaning in a long time, you might need a deeper cleaning. This is known as scaling and root planing, and it's also commonly referred to simply as a "deep cleaning" or a periodontal cleaning or treatment. If your dentist has told you that you need to have scaling and root planing done, you might be nervous and might not really know what to expect. These are some of the things that you should expect.
It Will Probably Be Done Over Multiple Appointments
First of all, if you are expecting scaling and root planing to be done in one appointment, you should know that this is typically not the case. Depending on how long it's been since you have had a cleaning done, your scaling and root planing will probably be broken up into multiple appointments. Then, either half of your mouth or one quadrant of your mouth will be cleaned at each appointment. Typically, dental care professionals do try to schedule these appointments as close together as possible. This is important to help prevent bacteria from spreading from an uncleaned part of your mouth to the part of your mouth that the scaling and root planing have been done on.
Your Mouth Might Be Numbed for the Treatment
In many cases, a local anaesthetic will be used in half or one quadrant of your mouth for your appointment. This can help you stay as comfortable as possible during the procedure.
Most of the Work Will Be Done By a Dental Hygienist
When you schedule an appointment at your local dental office, you might expect your dentist to be the one who will do most of the work during your appointment. However, scaling and root planing is typically done by a dental hygienist. However, your dentist might be involved in some parts of the process; for example, they might be the one to give you the anaesthetic, and they might perform a check on your mouth after the dental hygienist has finished their job.
There Might Be Some Discomfort
Because your dental hygienist will be scraping below your gum line, you can expect some discomfort and tenderness in your gums for a day or two after having scaling and root planing done. Typically, taking over-the-counter pain medication can help a lot with this; you can ask your dentist whether or not this is a good idea for you.