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What does the procedure entail?

Scaling and root planing is provided after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking radiographs (x-rays). Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontal disease, scaling and root planing may be recommended. Local anesthesia may be used during the procedure.

  • What is Scaling?
    Scaling is performed to remove calculus and plaque from the tooth surfaces. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root.  

  • What is Root Planing?
    Root planing is performed to remove unwanted bacterial toxins and tartar from the root of the tooth. It helps prevent bacteria from easily recolonizing 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 periodontal disease.

When deep pockets between the teeth and gums continue to be present after non-surgical periodontal treatment, are present, and patients cannot keep the areas clean and free of plaque., surgery may be recommended.

Benefits of Treatment

If treatment is successful,, scaling and planing has many benefits, such as:

1. It can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes contributing to heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove the bacteria that may contribute to these conditions.

2. It protects teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed the depth that a patient can keep clean with daily oral care, 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 tissues. This leads to tooth loss.

3. Removal of calculus and stains from the mouth 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.


  • Nonsurgical treatment of periodontal disease involving meticulous scaling and root planing has been shown to be a highly predictable and successful periodontal therapy. The main goals of nonsurgical periodontal treatment are to remove and control supra- and subgingival microbial biofilms, eliminate and control inflammation, and eliminate and control systemic and local risk factors.

  • Self-care instructions need to be personalized and should be recommended based on the severity of the patient’s periodontal status.

  • Periodontal status should be thoroughly re-assessed at four to six weeks following the nonsurgical phase of treatment.

  • Reevaluation provides an opportunity to determine if the patient’s periodontal health is stable enough for assignment to a periodontal maintenance program, or whether further therapy is required.



The American Dental Association recommends that non-surgical treatment of gum disease be the first step in the treatment of periodontal disease. 


This step is called scaling and root planing. The objective of this non-surgical procedure is to remove dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which causes inflammation of the gums and disease. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment.

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