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Dental curettage: the importance of a thorough cleaning

Dental curettage (or root planing) is a treatment for periodontal disease. This technique is an effective way of removing calculus from the surface of the teeth and under the gums.

What is periodontal disease?

Before we go into the details of tooth cleaning, it is important to understand what periodontal disease is and how it develops.

Periodontal disease is a condition that affects the gums and tissues that hold teeth in place. It is caused by the build-up of bacterial plaque on the teeth and gums, which over time can lead to inflammation, redness and bleeding in the gums.

In its mildest form, periodontal disease is called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of periodontal disease that can lead to tooth loss.

What is a dental curettage?

Dental curettage is a treatment performed to treat periodontal disease. The aim of the curettage is to remove the plaque and calculus that has accumulated under the gums, thereby reducing inflammation and bleeding of the gums.

Dental curettage is performed in two stages: scraping and polishing.

  • Scraping

During this stage of treatment, the dentist uses an instrument called a curette to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the tooth and under the gums. The curette is a hand-held hook-shaped instrument used to gently scrape the surface and roots of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar.

The procedure can be uncomfortable, but the dentist can administer a local anaesthetic to reduce pain.

  • Polishing

The next step involves a process of polishing the teeth to a smooth surface. A thorough cleaning of the teeth is performed to remove stains and rough deposits.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment, it is essential to monitor the patient's condition and maintain regular oral hygiene to prevent any future build-up of bacteria.

Dental cleaning and curettage are two separate procedures

  • Dental cleaning is a preventive treatment that is carried out regularly at the dentist. Its purpose is to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and gums before more serious problems arise.

  • Curettage, on the other hand, is a corrective treatment applied when a periodontal problem already exists.

It is important to note that, although tooth cleaning is a preventive treatment, a curettage may be necessary if a significant accumulation of tartar is detected in the subgingival area. Similarly, a dental cleaning may be necessary after a curettage to maintain oral hygiene and prevent further plaque build-up.

When is a dental curettage necessary?

Dental curettage is recommended to treat early and advanced periodontal disease. If you have signs of periodontal disease, such as swollen, red or bleeding gums when you brush your teeth, you may need a root canal.

A curettage is also recommended if you have deep periodontal pockets (spaces between the gums and teeth that form when periodontal disease progresses). Periodontal pockets can be a haven for bacteria and can lead to bone loss and tooth mobility.

How long does the treatment take?

In general, the duration of a dental curettage varies depending on the number of teeth to be treated and the severity of the patient's periodontal disease. The procedure can last from a few minutes to an hour or more. In some cases, the curettage may require several visits to the dentist.

After a dental curettage: Recommendations for an optimal recovery

After a dental curettage, it is important to take care of the teeth and gums to ensure rapid healing:

  • Rest and relax to allow for a quick recovery.

  • Avoid hard, sticky foods that can damage gums and teeth.

  • Brush and floss gently to avoid damage to the gums.

  • Apply cold to the affected area to reduce swelling.

  • Follow your dentist's instructions and keep up with scheduled check-ups to ensure a good recovery.

  • It is necessary to refrain from smoking for at least 48 hours after the procedure.


Don't delay in taking care of your dental health. If you need a dental curettage or any other treatment, do not hesitate to contact our dental clinic in Barcelona. We are here to provide you with the best service and to help you maintain a healthy and bright smile!


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