Root planing: All you need to know about it:

root planing

What is root planing ?

Root planing also known as root descaling or non-surgical periodontal therapy, consists of removing tartar, infected tissue, biofilm and infiltrated bacteria from tooth surfaces in order to obtain a smooth, clean and disinfected root surface.

Why root planing?

Root planing is performed for different reasons :
  • The removal of tartar and infected tissues from dental surfaces.
  • To reduce the number of pathogenic bacteria and promote the formation of a natural and compatible flora.
  • Decrease the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.
  • Eliminate inflammation and promote periodontal healing.
  • Eliminate debris and bacteria stuck between the tooth and the gum. The periodontal pocket formed during periodontal disease will decrease, favoring the healing of the periodontium.

Indications of root planing:

Root planing is indicated in case of :
  • tartare under the gum Tartare under the gum: Tartar stuck between the tooth and the gum. It is a brown deposit very adherent to the tooth rich in bacteria and must be removed to promote healing.
  • gingival recession Gingival recession: Gingival recession lead to the exposure of the root to the external environment. The root being more sensitive than the tooth crown is more likely to develop infections.
  • Periodontal pocket:: In periodontal disease, the space between gum and root may widen. This space is named "Periodontal Pocket" causing the infiltration of bacteria and toxins.
    The purpose of root planing is to cleanse this space to promote healing.
  • Before surgical treatment to allow surgery on non-inflamed tissues.

Treatment procedure :

Root planing is a non-surgical periodontal therapy performed under local anesthesia. It is often performed in 2 sessions. The results depend on the severity of the periodontal disease, the number of teeth affected and the amount of tartar, but generally, the results remain satisfactory.
Debris and bacteria are removed with ultrasonic devices. After treatment, maintenance sessions will be planned to control the progress of healing.
Sometimes, the severity and complexity of the lesion makes nonsurgical treatment ineffective.

What to expect?

Root planing is a key act in initial therapy, and can be an effective therapy on its own.
The results after the surfacing shows a decrease of the inflammation and the depth of the periodontal pocket and tendency to the healing of the periodontal tissues.
However, a bacterial recolonization will occur 3 months after the root planing especially in deep pockets hence the need for periodontal maintenance.
The success of the treatment depends mainly on the hygiene of the patient and his habits. Chlorinexidine mouthwash will be prescribed to use 3 times a day for 10 to 15 days. Sessions will be planned to control the healing process.

Root planing limits:

Root planing has some limits. Sometimes it can not replace the surgical treatment for various reasons:
  • The complete elimination of subgingival tartar is difficult especially in the case of a deep periodontal pocket. The bigger the pocket, the more difficult the operation will be because we can not see the bottom of the pocket.
  • For the patients who have bad habits and insufficient oral hygiene, the surfacing will not bring any improvement for them.
  • The duration of the maintenance period after the treatment can be long, the frequency of the sessions depends on the quality of hygiene of the patient. The success of treatment therefore depends on both the practitioner and the patient.