Gingivitis is a disease that, left untreated, will cause significant tooth and gum deterioration. However, the treatment for gingivitis is simple and performed right in your dentist's office. Plaque and tartar that sit on the teeth provide an environment which allows bacteria to thrive and multiply. The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed, and this may be more noticeable when brushing or eating. These are signs of the early stages of gingivitis. Fortunately, gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scale and polish the teeth.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress to periodontitis, and the roots will need planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of dental tartar from the tooth surface, while root planing is the process of debriding the root surface of residual tartar as well as smoothing and reshaping the roots to create a hard, clean, smooth surface.
While scaling and root planing can be painless, advanced stages of gingivitis and periodontitis may make it necessary to numb the area for complete comfort. Deep scaling and root planing is usually broken down into one quadrant or two quadrants of the mouth per appointment. This allows for adequate healing time, and it reduces the time for each appointment.