How Scaling And Root Planing Works

9 March 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Do you suffer from periodontal disease and need to seek out a dentist for treatment? If so, they are likely going to recommend scaling and root planning as a way to give your teeth and gums a deep cleaning so that you can treat this oral health problem.

Gum Probing

The process starts by using a probe to measure the pockets of your gums. A thin device is actually placed between your teeth and your gums to see how deep those pockets are. Deep gum pockets can lead to more plaque buildup under the gums, which can cause a problem with periodontal disease.

Your dentist will actually record measurements of the pockets of your gums and compare them over time. This allows them to see if your gums are receding or if the pockets are getting deeper. Either problem can be a reason of concern to you. 


All that plaque under the gums will eat away at the structure of the tooth and the jawbone, which will cause it to deteriorate over time. You may have initial signs of inflammation and bleeding from your gums due to plaque buildup that you cannot see. Your dentist will take an x-ray of your mouth to see just how much plaque has mineralized under the gums and become tartar, which is a substance that cannot be removed with traditional brushing and flossing. 


The process of scaling and root planing is essentially a very deep and thorough cleaning of your teeth. However, the process is so intense that it is common to numb your mouth so that you do not feel anything. This allows the dentist to get into those gum pockets and remove the buildup of tartar in a way where you do not feel it.

It's common to use an ultrasonic scaler to remove a lot of the tartar, which uses a combination of water and vibrations to do its job. However, hand scaling equipment is also used to scrape off the tartar in places where the ultrasonic scaler has trouble reaching. The teeth will then be polished once the cleaning process is finished, which will give the teeth a nice shine so that they look good. 

Follow Up

You'll be asked to come back to the dentist after several weeks to check in on how your gums are recovering. Since you were likely dealing with inflammation and plaque that was taking up space under your gums, your dentist will want to make sure that the gums are retracting properly and the deep pockets are closing up. 

For more information on periodontal disease treatment, contact a professional near you.