Deep Cleaning

Scaling & Root Planing For Gum Disease

The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove causative agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. If cleanings are pushed tot the sideline, plaque become more resilient and adhere to the surfaces of your teeth underneath the gum, thus creating inflammation. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or a preventative measure. They are commonly performed on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.

What Do the Procedures Entail?

The team at Advanced Dental Group of Edgewater will perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, Dr. Chen, Dr. Ahmed or Dr. Yidi may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.

An animated illustration showing the process of scaling


When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental instrument. 

An animated depiction of a root planing procedure

Root Planing:

Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed, which promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future. 

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, Drs. Chen, Ahmed or Yidi may place an antibiotic agent after scaling and planing in order to facilitate healing and prevent further harm to your oral health. 

When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Drs. Chen, Ahmed or Yidi 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. With proper maintenance, we can help avoid that outcome.

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Benefits of Treatment

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. We use a measuring tool that checks the health of your gums. When the measurement exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. We call those “pockets”. As pockets deepen, hygiene becomes more difficult and creates an environment for bacteria to colonize easily, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to damage surrounding gums and bone. 

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.