Dental Scaling and Root Planing

What is Dental Scaling & Root Planing

Dental scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning. It is a therapy that deep cleans tartar and plaque buildup that can occur in hard-to-reach areas around the teeth and below the gums. It is an extensive treatment that involves removing calculus buildup from the teeth, which releases toxins and contributes to periodontitis leading to bone loss and gum recession.

Scaling and root planing treatment is much more thorough than a regular dental cleaning and cleans areas deeper in the gum tissue making sure to clean all the way down to the pocket. It’s recommended for patients who have signs & symptoms of gingivitis (early gum disease) or periodontitis (advanced gum disease). It’s an effective treatment in reversing periodontal disease and cleaning off toxins which impede the natural healing ability of the gums.

What Does Scaling & Root Planing Treatment Involve?

During the root planing procedure, our dentist or dental hygienist uses specialized tools to separate particularly bad plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth that can accumulate over time. During periodontal scaling, our dentists may use a local anesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable. Specialized tools are used to scale off deep plaque and tartar that has accumulated around the root surface of the teeth. Afterwards, you’ll have smooth root surfaces that are resurfaced, making it harder for plaque and tartar to re-adhere in the future.

After the procedure is complete, your dentist or dental hygienist will flush the area to remove any bacteria. They will then apply pressure to ensure proper gum tissue growth. You’ll likely experience some discomfort after the procedure and your gums should heal within one to two weeks.

Dental scaling and root planing is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for advanced periodontitis.


This page has been reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Mic Falkel, a partner at MPDG who received his Dental degree in 1987 from the University of the Pacific. Click here to follow him on Linkedin.

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