Dental Cleanings

Root Planing and Scaling for Gum Disease

Root planing and scaling is the most basic and effective way to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. Root planing and scaling cleans and detoxes the “pockets” between the gums and the roots of your teeth. For your comfort, Dr. Gillum may need to use a local anesthetic to numb your gums and the roots of your teeth.

Our dental hygienists may use an ultrasonic instrument for the root planing and scaling. This instrument is often more comfortable than standard scraping tools, but not all cleanings require this type of instrument.

What To Expect After Treatment

If anesthesia is used, your lips and gums may retain numbness for several hours. Root Planing and scaling causes little or no post operative discomfort or bleeding.

Why It Is Done

Root planing and scaling is done when gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have hard mineral deposits (tartar) and biofilm on them below the gum line.

How Well It Works

When you maintain regular professional and home dental care after the procedure, the progression of gum disease should stop. You will need to have your teeth cleaned every 3 months to detoxify and remove biofilms that cannot be reached by your home care alone. With time the diseased pockets will become shallow and the tissue firm and pink again. To maintain the health of your gums you must prevent the formation and progression of biofilm around your teeth. Daily flossing is critical.


Root planing and scaling like brushing can introduce potentially harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of acute infection. You may need to take antibiotics before and after your cleaning and scaling appointments if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for an infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you. You may need to take antibiotics if you have certain heart conditions or artificial joints.

In summary

Root planing and scaling is a simple procedure that can work very well to halt and reverse the damage of gum disease Especially in its earlier stages. Brush and floss daily afterward. Without proper home and professional care, your gum disease will progress.To promote healing, stop all use of tobacco. Smoking reduces your ability to fight infection of your gums by poisoning and depriving your gum tissue of oxygen . It will also delay healing.