Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing


The goal of scaling & root planing (sometimes referred to as deep cleaning) is to remove the etiologic agents (dental plaque and calculus) which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone. Periodontal scaling and root planing have long been established as effective treatment modalities in the management of people suffering from all forms of periodontal disease.

There is some confusion as to how a scaling and root planing will differ from a regular dental cleaning. This is a non-surgical periodontal treatment, which thoroughly cleans the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets, and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins, followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery of antimicrobials and host modulation therapy. The need for adjunctive therapy is tailored to the patient’s individual needs.

Goals of scaling and root planing:

  1. Direct removal of bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar).
  2. Direct removal of pathogenic bacteria. Scaling and root planning results in a significant reduction of the bacterial associated with periodontal disease, and encourages the re-population of the “good” bacteria associated with health.
  3. Reduction in the need for the body’s immune response to fight off infection, thereby decreasing the inflammatory cells responsible for tissue and bone damage observed in gingivitis and periodontitis.
  4. Decreased in gingival inflammation.
  5. Reattachment of gingival tissue to the tooth after root planning results in decreasing pocket depth.

To sustain periodontal health, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy. The goal of maintenance therapy is to prevent the reappearance and advancement of periodontal disease.