The objective of scaling & root planning is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone. Common etiologic agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and tartar (calculus).
These non-surgical procedures which completely cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and moderate/severe periodontal disease.
What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?
Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, the depth of the pockets and the progression of the periodontitis, local anesthetic may be used.
Scaling – This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling instrument. The scaling instruments removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces.
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 the future.
At a re-evaluation visit, the dentist will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed. If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth or bleed upon probing, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.
If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask your periodontist.