Gum Scaling and Root Planing

This is a common form of treatment for gum disease. Scaling is the removal of calculus, also called tartar as well as plaque. Root planing is the removal of any calculus from irregular tooth surfaces and also it smoothes our root surface irregularities.

Scaling and root planing removes the irritants that can cause gum disease. If someone is in the early stages of gum disease, scaling and root planing may be the only treatment necessary.

Ultrasonic Scaling

Some dental patients experience discomfort during this procedure, so local anesthetic may be used in the area being worked on by the dentist.

The dentist will use both hand instruments and ultrasonic scalers to do the scaling and root planing. The ultrasonic instruments may be electric or they may be air-powered.

Hand instruments come in different shapes and sizes and are used to knock plaque and calculus off each tooth. The hand instruments are called: scalers and curettes.

The ultrasonic instruments are used to remove larger deposits of plaque and calculus from around the crowns (top of the tooth) and roots of the teeth.

Mild Gum Disease

If you have mild gum disease (gingivitis) this treatment can usually be done in one visit. If you have a more advanced form of gum disease it will take four visits to complete the treatment. One quadrant will be done with each visit (1/4 area of your mouth).

After the treatment you may notice some soreness and sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. You will probably be told to take over-the-counter pain relievers to help minimize the discomfort. You may be instructed to use an antiseptic mouth rinse after scaling and root planing.

It is common to experience bleeding when brushing your teeth for the first few days following this treatment. Your dentist may have put on a fluoride-containing gel to prevent root cavities and will have instructed you in proper brushing and flossing techniques.

It is important that if your medical doctor has ever instructed you to take antibiotics before dental procedures that you inform your dentist of this before undergoing this treatment.