Dental professionals seem to have a lot of different names for procedures that might sound like they’re all the same. But the truth is, seemingly identical treatments like dental cleanings, scaling and root planing, and periodontal maintenance all hold different purposes. Learn from our periodontist in Birmingham, AL, Dr. Leigh Kent, about the differences between these treatments:

Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings are the routine treatments completed by a hygienist at your dentist’s office. During a dental cleaning, your hygienist gently removes the tartar build-up and stains from your teeth. Then he or she will polish the teeth with a specialized dental tool. Your dental cleaning most likely will include a quick examination from your dentist, too.

Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing (SRP) is generally for patients whose periodontist or dentist has discovered they have gum disease, and is commonly the first line of defense against gum disease. SRP is often considered a “deep cleaning” that goes deeper than a routine dental cleaning. First, scaling the teeth removes the tartar buildup on the teeth both above the gums and below, where the gums and bone meet. Second, root planing smooths the surfaces of the tooth roots so that the gum tissue can reattach to the teeth.

Periodontal Maintenance
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease and have undergone treatment already, periodontal maintenance is the final—though ongoing—step of the treatment process. Periodontal maintenance often takes the place of routine dental cleanings. This treatment is concerned with deep cleaning and maintaining the health of the teeth, gums, and bone so that gum disease does not return. The frequency of these cleanings is determined by our periodontist, but generally occurs every 3-4 months.

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Call (205)-870-8341 now to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kent or reserve your appointment online today.