Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planning)
A deep cleaning, also known by the technical phrase, scaling and root planing, is necessary to remove infectious bacteria underneath your gums. The bacteria accumulate into plaque, and when left undisturbed, plaque turns to tartar/calculus which is impossible to remove without the help of a dental professional.
As periodontal disease progresses, natural pockets between your gum tissue and your teeth grow deeper, allowing calculus to form further down the root of the tooth. Over time, this further exacerbates the problem and leads to inflammation, bone loss, and ultimately infection and tooth loss.
The goal of an SRP is to remove this calculus, allowing the pockets to tighten back around the tooth.
The bottom line:
You know that string of numbers your dentist or hygienist calls out during your exam? Those are very important in a periodontal exam because when we start to see numbers 4 mm or larger associated with bone loss, it tells us that patient would likely benefit from a deep cleaning (SRP). Unfortunately, a regular cleaning is no longer enough. The scientific literature is conclusive on the benefit and efficacy of the procedure.