Office - Downtown Periodontal Group

Active Therapy/Prevention

Scaling and Root Planing or "Deep cleaning"

The initial therapy for gum disease is called scaling and root planing. This is a non-surgical procedure performed by a licensed dental hygienist who has been trained to remove tartar below the gum line, clean and smooth the root surface, and allow the healing process to begin. It may involve 2 to 5 appointments. Local anesthesia (or "freezing") is used to ensure your comfort since the tissues are delicate and may be tender. Scaling scrapes off the plaque and tartar and then, root planing smoothes the root. A smooth clean healthy root surface allows the gums to reattach to the teeth. Since root planing is a procedure that removes the irritants, much like removing a splinter from an infected finger, patients generally experience little discomfort afterwards and the gums actually feel better. There are limitations to what scaling and root planing can accomplish. Research has shown that the deeper the pocket the less effective we are at removing the plaque and calculus. Also, back teeth are more difficult to reach and are therefore more difficult to effectively clean and detoxify.