Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry


Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry

Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

The objective of scaling and root planing is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation. Commonly, this includes dental plaque or tartar (calculus).

These non-surgical procedures which cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and moderate/severe disease.

Reasons for scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planing can be used both as a preventative measure or on their own. These procedures will help you maintain good oral hygiene in the long run, or if your teeth are already suffering from an illness that has caused them to become sensitive like periodontitis .

Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:

  • Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.
  • Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease. As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria. Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.
  • Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline.  As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planing procedure.  
  • Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath). Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

A thorough examination of the mouth will determine if scaling and root planing treatments are needed. X-rays, visual examinations or any other tests may be conducted before recommending them in order to make a diagnosis on what type of procedure is best for you at this time.

Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, local anesthetic can be used to numb the area and provide relief for moderate periodontitis.

  • Scaling – This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces. In many cases, the scaling tool includes an irrigation process that can also be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.
  • Root Planing – This procedure is a specific treatment which serves to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps bacteria from easily colonizing in future.

Itching may be a symptom of gum disease. If this is the case, your dentist or hygienist will prescribe antibiotics to soothe irritation and help heal it quickly! During future appointments they'll check how well these procedures worked in healing you can tell if there are still deep pockets present by measuring them with their instruments after every cleaning session

If 3mm depth remains despite our best efforts then additional treatment methods will likely become necessary which could include scaling rather than just trimming excess skin around each tooth.