Scaling and root planing is a non surgical procedure whose purpose it is to remove the causative agents of gum disease. A comprehensive oral exam is performed prior to scaling and root planing. This exam includes a complete medical history, radiographs (x-rays), and recording of pocket depths with a dental instrument called a periodontal probe. The probe, which is calibrated in millimeters, is inserted under the gumline to measure the tissue attachment to the tooth root. In the presence of gingivitis and periodontal disease the gums become red and puffy and may pull away from the teeth. They bleed easily and pus may be present.
Scaling is done with specialized dental instruments to remove the soft (plaque/biofilm), and hard (calculus/tartar) deposits from the teeth and root surfaces. A local anesthetic or topical anesthetic may be administered prior to the scaling to ensure comfort for the patient.
Root planing is the smoothing of the root surface to remove microorganisms that have become embedded in the root surface. This procedure promotes healing and discourages bacteria from colonizing.
Our dental hygienists will schedule an appropriate amount of time to adequately perform this procedure (typically one to four appointments) and provide each patient with an individualized post procedure plan.
Scaling and root planing are usually adequate to treat early gum disease but a referral to a periodontist (gum disease specialist) may be necessary.