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Our periodontal team performs scaling and root planing (a non-surgical periodontal therapy) using special tools to give your gums a deep cleaning (versus a routine dental cleaning on the gums’ surface and between teeth). It is done when you have spaces between your gums and teeth and under the gumline from gum disease. A regular dental cleaning can’t reach down far enough to remove the accumulated plaque but is effective at helping to keep your gums healthy, so they don’t develop pockets.

Removing Plaque and Calculus

Gum disease is created by bacteria buildup (plaque) that has hardened (calculus) and is inflaming your gum tissues. While daily brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings help prevent this plaque buildup, if any of those factors are neglected, your gums may require conventional periodontal therapy (scaling and root planing) to restore healthy gums. It is especially true if your gums have been allowed to pull away from your teeth to form pockets. These pockets then create a space where more plaque can become trapped, and as your gums keep receding, you can face both bone and tooth loss.

Catching gum disease early is another reason to attend your routine dental cleanings. But once your gum pockets are deep, scaling and root planing will be required. It also helps patients who have chronic advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Our periodontal team has the training, focus, and experience to prevent, diagnose, and treat gum disease. Scaling and root planing uses deep cleaning to remove damaging plaque and has two parts.

Scaling: This is where we get rid of hardened plaque sitting above and under your gumline, cleaning all the way to the bottom of the pocket where plaque collects.

Root planing: This is done to smooth out your exposed tooth roots, taking out any cementum or dentin that has microorganisms, toxins, and calculus.

It will allow your gums to reattach to the teeth again. These treatments typically take a couple of visits, and you may be given a local anesthetic to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Scaling and Root Planing Post-Care

You may initially experience tooth pain a day or so after your treatment, and tooth sensitivity can linger up to a week if your gums are tender, swollen, or bleeding. You may be advised to expedite healing and reduce pain by taking an antibiotic or using oral rinse to keep infection away. A follow-up will make sure the pockets are healing, and if they have become deeper, we may recommend another scaling and root planing treatment to make sure all the calculus is removed so the gums can heal.

You will need to maintain good oral hygiene at home to keep gum disease from coming back (or getting worse). Your at-home care, coupled with in-office dental cleanings, is the teamwork your teeth and gums need to be healthy and strong. Avoid using tobacco of any kind as it prevents your gums from healing. To promote healing, consume plenty of vitamin C from citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens, and vitamin B-12 from dairy, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. Your gums will thank you!

If you have any issues with your gums, the sooner you treat them the better. We welcome you to give our team a call to answer your questions or concerns and schedule scaling and root planing treatment. We look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy!