Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

dentist cleaning patient

Periodontal scaling, sometimes referred to as a deep cleaning, is a specialized dental cleaning used to treat periodontal disease by removing excess plaque and tartar from the mouth. The procedure begins by using special dental tools to scrape away plaque and hardened tartar that has formed along the gum line. This is known as scaling. After scaling, the surface of the tooth roots is smoothed out in a process called root planing. Finally, an antibiotic is applied to the area to kill any remaining bacteria and promote healing. 

Did You Know?

Plaque is soft and can be removed by regular brushing and flossing. Tartar, on the other hand, is plaque that has hardened in place. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, and can only be removed using special dental tools. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need periodontal scaling?

You will need periodontal scaling if you are affected by periodontal disease. Some possible symptoms of periodontal disease include: 

  • Redness, swelling, or tenderness in the gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Receded gums

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you should schedule a consultation with your Bradenton dentist today to determine if periodontal scaling is necessary. 

What can I expect during periodontal scaling and root planing?

If you require periodontal scaling, then your dentist will first anesthetize your mouth to keep you comfortable. For this reason, your cleaning may be completed over the course of multiple appointments so that only one part of your mouth is numb at once. 

Once you have been anesthetized, your dentist will begin by scaling. This means that they will use a dental scaler to scrape plaque and hardened tartar off the surface of your teeth and tooth roots. Next, the surface of the tooth roots will be smoothened and an antibacterial solution will be applied to promote healing and the reattachment of the gums to the teeth. The length of the procedure will depend upon the extent of plaque and tartar buildup. 

Do I need to follow any special instructions after periodontal scaling?

Immediately after your procedure, the treatment area will likely remain numb for a few hours. However, once the anesthetics wear off, you should not experience any discomfort. Your dentist will likely prescribe you antibiotics that should be taken as directed to help manage your periodontal disease. While receiving treatment for periodontal disease, you should also avoid behaviors that can worsen the problem, such as smoking. Finally, it is also important to practice good dental hygiene such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist will make a recommendation on how frequently you should have periodontal scaling performed. 


Give us a call today, or use our online form to schedule an appointment where the doctor can evaluate your teeth, and determine how we can help you achieve your oral health goals.

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