What is Root Planning and Scaling?

To treat gum disease before it becomes severe, your dentist may recommend that you undergo root planning and scaling. This treatment cleans between the gums and the teeth to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. Your dentist may numb your gums with a local anesthetic.

Your dentist may use an ultrasonic tool to remove plaque or disease from your teeth. This tool is not as uncomfortable as a standard scraping tool, but not all cleanings require this type of tool. Your dentist may place antibiotic fibers into the pockets between your teeth and gums. The antibiotic will help speed healing and prevent infection.

What To Expect After Treatment

If anesthesia is used, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours. Planning and scaling causes little or no discomfort.

Why It Is Done

Root planning 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) on them.


How Well It Works

If you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of gum
disease should stop. And your gums will heal and become firm and pink again.

What To Think About

Root planning and scaling is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease. Brush and floss regularly afterward. Without proper dental care, your gum disease may progress. To promote healing, stop all use of tobacco. Smoking or using spit tobacco reduces your ability to fight infection of your gums and delays healing. To learn more, see the topic Quitting Smoking.