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After SRP should the roots be glassy smooth?

Sometimes after I complete SRP the roots will still be a bit rough. Is this because I’m not root scaling enough? I’m just worried that I’m leaving calc. behind.



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2 Answers

I remember being taught in hygiene school that a smooth glassy root surface is the desired end result of a thorough root planing. That indicates that the cementum had been removed and with it embedded endotoxins that cause gingival inflammation and bone loss. However, I believe there has been recent studies showing that removing all the cementum is considered overtreatment and cause more harm than good. Leaving some cementum behind allows for better attachment after root planing and hopefully the development of a long juntional epithelium resulting in a decrease in pocketing. As long as you aren’t feeling big chunks of calculus or a feeling of medium grainy spicules (for lack of a better term) I would say you are doing a good job. Feeling a little roughness doesn’t necessarily mean you left calculus behind. It could just mean cementum is still present leaving a good biologic surface for reattachment.

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I always learned that the glassy surface was the old version of ‘ideal’ and that cementum removal was no longer the goal of SRP. Also, I’ve seen many patients that have undergone SRP that do have ‘rough’ root surfaces and I have been told (when I was in school) that it was due to the SRP and the fact that they no longer need to smooth it out completely. I personally noticed that these clients have roots with a ‘stickier’ feeling to them once SRP is done and checking with an explorer. Remember, calculus is the irritant, so if that is gone than you’ve managed most of the problem.

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