Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease affects the majority of adults in the United States. Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, occurs when plaque is allowed to build up around the teeth and down in the gums. The most frequent cause of plaque buildup is poor brushing and flossing, but people can also have a genetic propensity for the condition. If gum disease is caught early, then a professional cleaning at the dentist will resolve the problem. The full professional cleaning involves something known as scaling and root planing.

Scaling and Root Planing

This procedure sounds scarier than it actually is. During scaling, specialized tools are used to remove all of the plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth and in the gums. This process involves quite a bit of scraping, but it is not painful. The next step is root planing. During this process, an anesthetic might be required to help lower the amount of discomfort or pain experienced by the patient. Root planing is when the gums are reshaped to fit around the teeth. It involves some pressure, pushing, and pulling.

Once scaling and root planing is done, it’s normal for the mouth to feel sensitive, and the gums might bleed. To prevent an infection from the procedure, it’s possible that the dentist will prescribe an antibiotic that comes as a pill or a disinfectant rinse. Sometimes, medication will be directly inserted into the gums as well to facilitate healing.


There are numerous benefits to scaling and root planing, one of the most significant being the disruption of periodontal disease from progressing any further. Complete cleaning can also help keep the gums healthy and strong, so they don’t deteriorate and cause tooth loss or decay.

If scaling and root planing is something you’re interested in, then you need to make an appointment with a qualified dentist to check and see if you do have periodontal disease. Some of the most significant symptoms are bleeding and puffy gums. For more information, make an appointment today.

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