How Long Does Scaling And Root Planing Take?

How Long Does Scaling And Root Planing Take?

Team Oral Surgery - Periodontics

Are you scheduled for a scaling and root planing procedure? This is sometimes referred to as a deep cleaning of the teeth and it is primarily used to treat gum disease. Scaling and root planing are two different procedures, but they are typically performed together because they address the same area of the tooth. 

If you have an upcoming appointment, you may be wondering how long scaling and root planing takes. Here’s an overview of the procedure and how long you can expect it to take. 

What is Scaling? 

Scaling is the process of removing calculus (hardened plaque) from the teeth, especially from the roots below the gum line. The gum tissue must be gently pulled away from the teeth while specialized tools are used to reach under the gums. Local anesthesia may be used to numb the area to minimize discomfort. 

What is Root Planing? 

After the calculus is removed from the roots of the teeth, the surface is often left rough and uneven. Root planing is the process of buffing the root surface so that it is smooth. The purpose is to allow the gums to reattach to the teeth more firmly with no spaces between, preventing plaque from getting under the gums and causing infection. 

Average Length of a Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

The level of deep cleaning that scaling and root planing entails is a lengthy process. It could take several hours to completely clean all of the teeth. This is why scaling and root planing is often scheduled in two separate appointments. Half of the mouth is cleaned during one appointment, and the other half is cleaned during the next appointment. 

Factors That Affect the Length of the Deep Cleaning Process

The length of a scaling and root planing procedure varies depending on a variety of factors:

  • Extent of calculus buildup. The scaling process takes longer if there is a lot of calculus buildup on the teeth. 
  • Number of teeth being cleaned. It’s possible that not all of your teeth need scaling and root planing. The more teeth that need deep cleaning, the longer the procedure will take. 
  • Number of appointments. If the process is divided into multiple appointments, each appointment will take less time. 
  • Experience of your dentist/periodontist. A dentist or periodontist with plenty of experience performing scaling and root planing will be able to do it more efficiently. Periodontists specialize in this procedure, so they may be more efficient than a general dentist. 

Is Scaling and Root Planing Worth It?

If your dentist or periodontist has recommended scaling and root planing, you most likely have gum disease that is severe or has progressed beyond routine dental care and cleaning. Gum disease can cause a variety of dental and oral health problems. It causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, called receding gums. Gum disease also causes damage to the other support structures for the teeth, including the jaw bone and connective tissues. The teeth may become loose and even fall out from lack of support. 

Regularly scheduled scaling and root planing is referred to as periodontal maintenance, and it can keep gum disease at bay for improved dental and oral health. 

Why Choose Hudson Valley Periodontics & Implantology?

Scaling and root planing is best performed by an experienced periodontist. Hudson Valley Periodontics & Implantology specializes in the treatment of gum disease through a variety of procedures including scaling and root planing. We provide periodontal maintenance programs to help keep gum disease from returning after treatment. 

Call 845-623-6666 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.