A Deep Dive into "What is Root Planing?"

April 03, 2024

Have you ever found yourself asking: "What on earth is root planing?" Well, don't bite your nails over it. We've got you covered, mate! From the ins and outs to the nitty-gritty, this article aims to polish up your knowledge. (See what I did there?)


We all know the drill – literally. A trip to the dentist isn't always a walk in the park. But sometimes, it's what's below the surface that requires our utmost attention. Enter: root planing. But before we dig deep, let's get the ball rolling with a general overview.

What is Root Planing?

Root planing, in layman's terms, is a dental procedure that aims to clean the roots of your teeth. Sounds simple enough, right? But oh boy, there's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Why is it Necessary?

Ever heard the phrase "the root of all problems"? Well, in dental terms, the health of your teeth's roots can be just that. Over time, nasty bacteria, plaque, and tartar can build up beneath the gumline, leading to gum disease. If left unchecked, this can cause a whole host of problems, including tooth loss. Yikes!

How's it Done?

The process, my dear Watson, is elementary. A dentist or dental hygienist will use special tools to gently clean the roots of your teeth. This often goes hand in hand with scaling, another procedure that removes plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth.

Benefits of Root Planing

1. Disease Prevention

This is a biggie. Root planing can significantly reduce the risk of developing gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.

2. Breath of Fresh Air

Bad breath, be gone! Cleaning those roots can also help tackle halitosis. Talk about a breath of fresh air!

3. Protects Teeth

Healthy roots lead to healthy teeth. By cleaning them, you're taking a step to protect your pearly whites from potential damage.

Are there Risks?

As with any medical procedure, there can be risks. But, don't pull your hair out over it! Most side effects are mild, like slight gum irritation or sensitivity. Always talk to your dentist about any concerns. They're there to help!

FAQs About Root Planing

  1. Is root planing painful?

    • Not typically. Local anesthesia is often used to ensure you're comfortable.
  2. How often should I have root planing done?

    • It really depends on your individual needs. Your dentist will be able to guide you on this.
  3. Can I eat after the procedure?

    • Hold your horses! It's best to wait until the anesthesia wears off. Then, opt for soft foods for a day or so.
  4. Is there a difference between scaling and root planing?

    • You bet! While they're often done together, scaling focuses on the tooth surface, while root planing goes deeper to clean the roots.
  5. How long does the procedure take?

    • It can vary, but typically it's done in one to two visits.
  6. What's the recovery like?

    • Most folks bounce back quickly. You might experience some sensitivity, but this should pass within a few days.

Aftercare Tips

Once you've had root planing done, it's not time to rest on your laurels. Proper aftercare is crucial. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Brush Gently: For the first few days, be gentle on your gums.
  2. Rinse with Saltwater: This can help soothe any irritation.
  3. Avoid Crunchy Foods: Give your gums a break and opt for softer options.


So there you have it! Root planing demystified. Whether it's getting to the root of the problem or ensuring you're all smiles, this procedure can be a game-changer. But, as with all things dental, prevention is key. Regular check-ups, brushing, and flossing are your best defense. So, next time someone asks you, "What is root planing?", you can proudly say, "I know a thing or two about that!"