Scaling & Root Planing

The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease may include non-surgical scaling and root planing. This procedure removes etiologic agents such as dental plaque and calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or a preventative measure. It is commonly performed on cases of gingivitis and moderate-to-severe periodontal disease. In some cases, a local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.

  • Scaling:
    Scaling removes the calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces along the roots of the tooth or the area below the gums.
  • Root Planing:
    Root planing removes cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and calculus. The root of the tooth is smoothed, which promotes healing and 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, Dr. Favor may place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after scaling and root planing or periodontal maintenance visits. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.

Benefits of Scaling & Root Planing Treatment

If treatment is successful, scaling and root 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 removes bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing and reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity.