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Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing

The objective of scaling and root planning is to remove irritating agents which cause inflammation to the gum tissue and surrounding bone. These agents include dental plaque and calculus.

These are non-surgical procedures that will completely clean the periodontium, and they are very effective in individuals suffering from gingivitis and moderate/severe periodontal disease.

Reasons for scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planning can be used both as a preventative measure and as a stand-alone treatment.

Here are some reasons why these procedures may be necessary:

Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body.  Scaling and root planing will remove bacteria and halt periodontal disease from progressing and in this way prevent the bacteria to travel 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 will house more and more colonies of bacteria.

Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove calculus and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline.  If superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planning procedure, so this is another bonus which will bring out the esthetic appereance of your smile along the process.


Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis or bad breath.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a detailed examination of the mouth.  The dentist will take X-rays, conduct visual examinations and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.

Scaling – This procedure is performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool as well.  The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the crown and root surfaces.

Root Planing – This procedure is a specific treatment in which cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins andcalculus are removed.  The root of the tooth is smoothed in this way promote good healing.

After these deep cleaning procedures, the gum pockets may be treated with antibiotics.  This part of the treatment will soothe irritation and help the gum tissues to heal quickly.

In your next appointment, the dentist or hygienist 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, additional and more intensive treatments are recommended. The sooner the treatment is started, the better the results will be.

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