Scaling & RootPlaning

Why do I need scaling and root planing?

The goal of scaling and root planing is to eliminate the source of periodontal infection by removing the plaque, tartar, and bacterial toxins from the root surfaces of the teeth below the gumline.

When you have active periodontal disease, routine cleanings are not enough because they generally remove plaque and tartar from above the gumline only.

The procedure

To keep you comfortable, we usually numb the area before root planing begins. Using specialized instruments, we carefully and meticulously remove the plaque and tartar around and beneath the gumline, and then smooth the root surfaces. This removes the source of infection and helps your gums heal. As they heal your gums will tighten around your teeth.

We may schedule scaling and root planing over several appointments. This way we can promote your comfort, check the healing, and help you fine-tune your homecare efforts.


What is Ultrasonic scaling?

Ultrasonic scaling is one of the most effective procedures for treating periodontal disease.

An ultrasonic scaler consists of a wand with a small scaling tip that produces a soft ultrasonic vibration. The small quick vibrations, in combination with a gentle water flow, thoroughly remove tartar, while decreasing the number of destructive bacteria below the gumline.

Removing tartar and bacteria are crucial to controlling periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease? Periodontal disease, an infection of the teeth, gums, and the bone that surround the teeth, begins when plaque, the sticky film of food and bacteria, builds up. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar. The buildup of plaque and tartar dramatically increases the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth, and can result in deepening spaces between the tooth and gum, called pockets.

The bacteria also trigger your body's immune system to produce enzymes that destroy the bone around your teeth, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

The benefits of ultrasonic scaling

Ultrasonic scaling has many benefits over using hand scaling alone. These inlcude:
  • More efficient removal of plaque and tartar
  • less need for hand removal of stubborn deposits
  • greater comfort for the patient


Why we use a microscope

A microscope helps in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease by allowing us to examine the levels of bacteria in your mouth. We use a microscope because the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can't be seen with the naked eye.

How we use a microscope

First, we gently take a small plaque sample from the space between your teeth and gums below the gum line. Then we'll place it on a slide and look at the sample through the microscope.

If you have active periodontal disease, we'll see more spirochete bacteria than in a healthy mouth. These bacteria are one sign of active periodontal disease. You'll look at your own slides when we use the microscope to help you see the cause of periodontal disease.

And after you've begun periodontal therapy, we may take a new sample from below the gumline. That way, you may be able to see your mouth's return to health and judge the success of periodontal therapy.