Periodontal scaling and root planing, also called a deep cleaning, is a procedure used to treat gum disease.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a serious condition that can cause inflammation, bleeding, bone loss around your teeth, teeth mobility and receding gums. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

During periodontal scaling and root planing, your periodontist will remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below the gum line. This is done using special instruments that reach into the deep pockets that form around teeth with gum disease.

Why Do I Need Scaling and Root Planing?

In the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums may be red, swollen, and bleed easily. However, the bone and tissue that support the teeth are not yet affected.

If the gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses to periodontitis. In periodontitis, the gums have pulled away from the teeth, forming pockets that become filled with bacteria. The bone and tissue that support the teeth begin to break down and can lead to tooth loss.

This is where periodontal scaling and root planing can help avoid losing teeth.

Scaling and root planing can help remove the bacteria and plaque that causes inflammation and bone loss in periodontitis. It can also help to smooth the roots of the teeth, making it more difficult for bacteria to reattach.

If you have gum disease, you may need scaling and root planing to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums. Scaling and root planing can help to:

  • Reduce inflammation and bleeding
  • Relieve pain
  • Stop the progression of gum disease
  • Prevent tooth loss

How is Scaling and Root Planing Performed?

Scaling and root planing is usually performed in two or more visits. During your first visit, your periodontist will numb the area around your teeth with a local anesthetic. They will then use special instruments to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below the gum line.

In some cases, your periodontist may also use an ultrasonic device to remove plaque and tartar. Ultrasonic devices use sound waves to vibrate plaque and tartar loose, making it easier to remove.

After the scaling and root planing is complete, your periodontist will apply a fluoride treatment to help strengthen your teeth.

What to Expect After Scaling and Root Planing

After scaling and root planing, you may experience some discomfort. Your gums may be sore and bleed for a few days. You may also have some swelling.

Your periodontist will give you instructions on how to care for your teeth and gums after scaling and root planing. They may recommend that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You may also need to avoid certain foods and activities that can irritate your gums.

Is Scaling and Root Planing Worth It?

Scaling and root planing is a safe and effective treatment for gum disease. It is a worthwhile investment in your oral health, as it can help to prevent tooth loss and other serious complications.

If you are concerned about gum disease, talk to your dentist or periodontist. They can assess your oral health and recommend the best treatment for you.

If you have any questions about periodontal scaling and root planing, please do not hesitate to schedule your consultation with our periodontist today.