SRP is a dental term for deep cleaning. It is a non-surgical therapy performed under local anesthesia. SRP eliminates dental plaque and calculus underneath the gums, which cause inflammation, severe bleeding, and halitosis (bad breath), and is considered the ultimate treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Plaque is a soft yellow-grayish substance that adheres to the tooth surfaces including removable and fixed restorations. Plaque accumulation tends to be thickest on the part of the tooth directly adjacent to the gums. Due to the proximity of this area to the gum tissue, the bacterial plaque begins to irritate and infect the gums. This infection of the gum causes inflammation known as gingivitis, which literally means inflammation of the gingiva or gums. Gingivitis is characterized by swelling, redness, and bleeding gums. It is the first step in the decline of periodontal health, and the only step which can be fully reversed to restore one’s oral health. As the gingival tissue swells, it no longer provides an effective seal between the tooth and the outside environment.
Once the bacteria and calculus are removed from the periodontal pocket, the tissue can begin to heal. The inflammation dissipates as the infection declines, allowing the swelling to decrease which results in the gums once again forming an effective seal between the root of the tooth and the outside environment.