Scaling and Root Planing

What is it?

Scaling and root planing is the most common and conservative form of treatment for periodontitis (bone loss).

Periodontitis is an infection that affects the bone around the teeth. If left untreated, it can result in tooth loss and even affect overall health.

The goal of the treatment is to remove the plaque and calculus (tartar), which are the main causes of periodontitis and gum infections. By removing them, a clean environment is introduced to your teeth and their surrounding tissues. This stops the disease from progressing.

       Scaling is the removal of calculus and plaque that  attach to the root surfaces of the teeth when periodontal pockets are present.

Plaque is a sticky substance, full of bacteria, that forms on teeth. When plaque hardens and calcifies over time, it is called calculus. Plaque is more likely to stick to rough surfaces. Therefore, the root surface is made smooth in the root planing process.

If necessary, a localized antibiotic is applied into the sulcus area (crevasse between the tooth and surrounding gum) which acts as a medication and destroys the remaining bacteria. It enhances your periodontal treatment and reduces gum inflammation. We may also prescribe a prescription strength mouth wash, called Chlorhexidine Gluconate, which helps to reduce the bacteria in your mouth.


For some patients scaling and root planing can cause discomfort. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the portion of your mouth that is being worked on.

If your physician recommends that you premedicate before dental visits, you will need to take your antibiotics to prepare for scaling and root planing treatment.

Depending on the severity of the disease you may have to complete your full treatment in a few office visits.


Chlorhexidine and Clinpro

Personal oral hygiene is very important post treatment. Flossing once a day and tooth brushing at least twice a day is a must. The provider may recommend a prescription strength mouth wash, called Chlorhexidine.

That combined with follow-up appointments for periodontal maintenance and prophylaxis is what will keep the periodontal disease from progressing.