Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical method used to both prevent gum disease and treat it in the event that it develops and before it becomes too severe. Gum disease is an inflammation of your gum tissue caused by the build-up of harmful plaque, bacteria, and tartar at or below the gum line.  This build-up can cause the gum tissue around your teeth to recede from it and for pockets to form below the gum line. These pockets can collect more of the harmful bacteria and plaque, further irritating the problem up to more advanced stages that can result in tooth and bone loss.

In the event that gum disease develops, scaling and planing is a service that we offer to help remove the harmful build-up.

What to Expect

Scaling and root planing is the process of cleaning between the gums all the way down to your teeth’s roots. This is done in our office with either hand tools, ultrasonic ones, or sometimes both. The appointment will start out with a thorough examination of your mouth and the elimination of some bacteria and plaque with an ultrasonic tool. This tool removes tartar, biofilm, and plaque from your tooth’s surface and below the gum line. The manual tool may then be used to remove what remains. It’s possible that we may use an anesthetic to numb your gums and the roots of your teeth depending on your sensitivity and the severity of the build-up.

Root planing is done after the removal of the plaque, tartar, and bacteria through scaling. It involves smoothing out the tooth’s root with a hand tool in order to allow for the gums to reattach to your tooth. Generally, the entire procedure can be done in one visit; however, depending on the advancement of the gum disease, it could take more. There should be little to no discomfort after planing and scaling occurs, although your lips and gums may remain numb from the anesthesia for a few hours. If any pain or discomfort occurs and persists, you should contact our office.

After scaling and root planing is done, we will discuss with you how to take care of and clean your teeth through proper brushing and flossing. The reason why we may reinforce the simple everyday routine of brushing, flossing, and even using antiseptic mouthwashes is because these habits can help reduce the risk of the development of gum disease and other more dangerous conditions.

We will want to schedule a follow-up visit to ensure the health of your gums, the healing process, and the status of the gum pockets. In most cases, the inflamed gum tissue will become pink and firm again, the pockets will get smaller, and the bleeding will be minimized with potentially no further treatments necessary. If symptoms persist, it could be the signs of a more advanced periodontal condition that will require surgical intervention in order to stop the possible progression to bone loss.

If you have any questions or concerns about the process of scaling and root planing, the condition of your own teeth, or preventative methods for gum disease, feel free to contact us today or visit our page on gum disease.