Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line.  These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response
in the body.  As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out.  The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper (greater than 3mm) and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.

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Scaling, Root Planning and Prophylaxis












Reasons for Teeth cleaning

Excellent oral hygiene is essential to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.  Some of the benefits of having your teeth professionally cleaned are:        

  • Tartar removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated.  Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets.  The experienced eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.     


  • Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth.  Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.


  • Fresher breath – Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis).  Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems.  The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.


  • Identification of health issues – Many health problems first present themselves to the dentist.  Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems.  Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.


Here at Greystone Dental Clinic, cleaning your teeth involves the following:

1. Supragingival cleaning (scaling) – The hygienist or dentist will

thoroughly clean the area above the gum line with scaling tools to rid

them of plaque and calculus.


2. Subgingival cleaning (root planning) – This is the most important step

for patients with periodontal disease because the hygienist or dentist is

able to remove calculus from the gum pockets and beneath the gum line.


3. Root planing - This is the smoothing of the tooth root by the hygienist

or dentist to eliminate any remaining bacteria.  These bacteria are

extremely dangerous to periodontitis sufferers, so eliminating them is

one of the top priorities of the dentist.


4. X-ray and examination – Routine X-rays can be extremely revealing when it comes to periodontal disease.  X-rays show the extent of bone and gum recession, and also aid the dentist in identifying areas which may need future attention.


Recare visits are recommended twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be performed every 3-4 months on patients with moderate or severe gum issues.  Though gum disease cannot be completely reversed, scaling and root planning are some of the tools that may effectively halt its destructive progress.