What is Scaling & Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the surfaces of the teeth above and below the gum line. Dental instruments known as scalers and curettes are used to remove bacteria adhering to the teeth. Ultrasonic instruments may also be used. Local anesthetic is often used to numb the area before treatment.

How is Periodontal Disease Prevented?

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and cleaning between the teeth with dental floss or other interdental devices are necessary to maintain the health of the gums and teeth. The use of additional products like mouthwash or other products may also be recommended for you. The professional cleaning of your teeth in the dental office on a frequent enough schedule is an important part of keeping your gums healthy. This is often more than the traditional twice a year schedule and is customized for each patient. Medical conditions like diabetes can lower the body’s resistance to infection and periodontal disease. Smoking tobacco will also affect the health of your gums.

How Does Scaling & Root Planing Treat Periodontal Disease?

Scaling and root planing is often the first step in treating the periodontal disease when gum pockets are deeper than 3 millimeters. Removal of the bacterial deposits allows the gum tissue to heal and the pockets to become shallower, giving you better access for reaching all the surfaces of the teeth when brushing and flossing. Antibiotics may be used in combination with root planing in some patients.

What Happens Following Treatment?

The condition of the gums is then examined several weeks later to see how they have improved and how much the pockets have decreased. Some patients will only need regularly scheduled preventive care in the dental office and continued good oral hygiene at home. Other patients with the more severe periodontal disease may require surgery to save the teeth affected with deeper pockets and bone loss.

Contact Us

Dr. Raymond B. van Gennip

(301) 565-8030
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 212 Silver Spring, MD 20910