Scaling & Root Planing

Scaling and root planing, often referred to as deep cleaning or periodontal therapy, is a gold standard treatment for patients diagnosed with gum disease (periodontitis). This procedure aims to prevent the advancement of gum disease. However, it is not a one-time procedure and may need to be repeated to maintain oral health despite the condition.

What Is Scaling & Root Planing?

Scaling & root planing is the gold standard of treatment for patients diagnosed with gum disease (i.e. periodontitis). This procedure is sometimes referred to as "deep cleaning" or simply "periodontal therapy". If you have periodontitis that is at risk of getting worse, the dentist may recommend scaling & root planing to keep your gum disease from advancing. However, you should know that this is not a procedure that you can just undergo once then forget about it. We may recommend that you continue to come in for scaling & root planing as necessary to keep your mouth as healthy as possible despite your condition.

Procedure Overview
  • The handheld instruments used in scaling and root planing are a scaler and a curette, both of which have sharp, curved tips to remove tartar and plaque from tooth surfaces below the gum line.
  • Electronic scalers use ultrasonic vibration to remove plaque and tartar, with a water spray to wash away debris.
  • Root planing smooths the surface of tooth roots to make it harder for bacteria to attach and gums to reattach. This is done with the same tools used for scaling, focusing on making rough spots smooth.
  • The gums are numbed before the procedure to prevent pain or discomfort. Typically, only one or two quadrants of the mouth are treated at a time, minimizing the need for extensive numbing.