Root Planing and Scaling: Purpose and Procedure

Periodontal disease, which is caused by oral bacteria that attack the gum tissue, occurs in a series of stages that become progressively more severe. The earliest form, gingivitis, involves red, swollen gums that may have some mild bleeding. Gingivitis can typically be addressed through a professional cleaning at your dentist’s office.

Periodontists must get involved to provide more specialized treatment when gum disease advances beyond gingivitis. Fortunately, early-stage periodontitis can still be treated with a non-invasive intervention known as root planing and scaling.

Periodontists will perform this procedure for a deep cleaning that eliminates bacteria between the gums and the roots of the teeth. It is used when the gums have begun to pull away from the tooth or when calculus has collected on the roots of the teeth.

Root planing and scaling involves removing tartar and plaque from the roots of the teeth. If the roots have rough spots that can harbor bacteria, those areas are also smoothed as part of the process.

The periodontist uses a local anesthetic for this procedure, and patients may opt for sedation for increased comfort.

After the procedure, the periodontist may place antibiotic fibers between the gums and the teeth to further reduce the presence of bacteria. In those instances, the fibers are removed after about a week.

Although periodontists can help in the battle against gum disease, patients must do their part as well. After the condition is controlled by a treatment, patients must commit to a rigorous oral hygiene routine that keeps their oral bacteria in check. Additionally, smokers with periodontal disease should give up that habit to reduce their chances of a relapse.

With an early intervention and follow-up care, gum disease can be controlled before it evolves into a condition that necessitates a surgical procedure. If you have developed an early stage of gum disease that cannot be treated by a dentist, consult with our skilled and experienced periodontists in DFW to learn more about your treatment options.