Non-Surgical Periodontal Gum Therapy

Root Planing and Scaling for Gum Disease

Root planing and scaling is one of the most common and conservative forms to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. It is done when the gums and bone have started to pull away from the teeth and a peridontal pocket has formed and/or the roots of the teeth have begun to develop hard mineral deposits, known as calculus, on them.  When the early stages of gum disease are detected, such as Gingivitis or early Periodontitis, this treatment may be all that is needed in order to get the disease under control.

Scaling is basically the process of removing calculus (commonly called tartar) and plaque that attaches to the surfaces of the teeth.  The procedure targets the area below the gumline and along the root surfaces of the teeth.

Plaque is a sticky substance, full of bacteria, that forms on teeth.  When the plaque hardens over time, it is called calculus.  Plaque likes to stick to rough surfaces.  For this reason, the root is made smooth in a process called root planing. Root planing is the process of smoothing the root surfaces and removing any infected tooth structure. 

How is it done?

Scaling and root planing are done with a combination of ultrasonic scalers and hand instruments.  Ultrasonic instruments are electric or air powered.  In most cases, the procedure will begin with the use of the ultrasonic scaler.  It is used to remove the large deposits of tartar and plaque from the crowns and roots of the teeth.  Hand instruments called scalers and curettes are then used to remove any remaining material to make sure that the tooth surface is smooth and clean.

How long is the treatment?

Typically, treatment is completed in two, one hour visits.

Post Care

Some patients may experience a small degree of discomfort after the procedure.  Over the counter pain relievers are all that are usually needed to manage the pain or discomfort.  Dr. Dornin recommends Ibuprofen.