Root Planing & Scaling
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing
When the periodontist finds deep periodontal pockets in the gums, scaling and root planing is the initial treatment that is rendered. These "pockets" are a space between the gums and the tooth that harbor bacteria and cause inflammation of the gums and bone loss around the teeth.
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical periodontal therapy that is in essence a deep cleaning of the roots. The periodontist carefully cleans the root surfaces to remove the plaque and tartar (scaling), and smooths the tooth root to remove any bacterial toxins (planing). This is done because bacteria and microorganisms are present that cause inflammation, starting with gingivitis and, if unchecked, resulting in bone loss in the jaw and eventual tooth loss. Because of the deep cleaning root planing and scaling entail, the patient's gum line is numbed to avoid any discomfort.
Depending on your particular condition, you may need additional therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials, systemic antibiotics, and possibly surgical therapy to correct the defect around the affected teeth. Once root planing and scaling is done, most patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy and periodic periodontal checkups to maintain their oral health.