Scaling & root planing is the gold standard of treatment for patients diagnosed with gum disease (i.e. periodontal disease). This procedure is sometimes referred to as “deep cleaning” or simply “periodontal therapy”.
In periodontal disease, swollen unhealthy gums start to pull away from the teeth because of pockets where infection-causing plaque & tartar accumulate. During a scaling part of the treatment, the dentist or hygienist removes plaque, tartar & bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth & tooth roots. In the root planing part of the treatment, the dentist or hygienist smoothes the surface of the tooth root to make it harder for bacteria to stick in the future & easier for the gums to re-attach.
While scaling & root planing cannot cure periodontal disease, it can slow or stop its progression. Scaling & root planing can reduce the need for surgical intervention in the future & often helps swollen bleeding gums become healthy & pink again.
If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend that scaling & root planing, along with periodontal maintenance checkups, become part of your routine dental visits, just like your cleanings & exams.