Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning below the gum line used to treat gum disease.

Scaling and Root Planing

Why Do I Need It?

Gum disease is caused by a plaque, or sticky film of bacteria. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but if they aren’t cleaned well, the bacteria in plaque can cause your gums to become inflamed. When inflamed, your gums will pull away from your teeth and form spaces called pockets. Plaque can then get trapped in the pockets, which cannot be removed via regular brushing. If left untreated, gum disease could lead to bone and tooth loss.

If gum disease is found early and hasn’t caused damage to the structures below the gum line, a professional cleaning should be able to help. However, if the pockets are too deep, then scaling and root planing may be required. 

What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing?

The deep cleaning has two parts to it. The first is scaling. Scaling is when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar, or hardened plaque, above and below the gum line. This is to make sure it is clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Your dentist will then begin root planing, which is smoothing out your teeth roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic.

After Care Tips

After a deep cleaning, you may have pain for a day or two and teeth sensitivity for up to a week. Your gums also may be swollen, feel tender and bleed. To prevent infection, control pain or help you heal, your dentist may prescribe a pill or mouth rinse. Your dentist may also insert medication directly into the pocket that was cleaned. A follow up visit will be scheduled to check on your healing. 

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