Scaling & Root Planing

The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough or “deep” cleaning called scaling and root planing.  Depending on the amount of tartar present, probing pocket depth, and amount of bone loss, Dr. Doan may recommend this treatment.  The objective is to remove causative agents such as sticky plaque and hard tartar (a.k.a. calculus) built up below the gumline. These agents are full of bacteria, which cause inflammation and associated bleeding, swelling, and bone loss.    

What does IT entail?

 In most cases, a local anesthesia will be used to numb the area during the procedure. 

  • Scaling 
    Removes calculus and plaque attached to the tooth surface.  Hand instruments and/or ultrasonic scalers may be used. 
  • Root Planing 
    Removes surface cementum that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms and toxins.  The root of the tooth is gently planed or smoothed, which creates a pristine, glassy surface to which the gums can reattach.  

Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, Dr. Doan or her hygienist may place an antibiotic powder in the pockets after scaling and root planing to further boost healing.

Benefits of Scaling & Root Planing 

If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.

When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Dr. Doan to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.