tooth scaling and root planing

Treating Gum Disease With Tooth Scaling and Root Planing

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition that affects millions of Americans each year. It can be painful and uncomfortable, and difficult to get under control depending on the severity level. It can also lead to a variety of health problems affecting your entire body.

At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we are passionate about the health of your teeth and gums. We’re proud to offer two treatments that go hand in hand – tooth scaling and root planing (SRP) to ease the effects of advanced gum disease. We’ve broken down these processes so you can better understand them.

What Are Tooth Scaling and Root Planing?

Tooth scaling and root planing are procedures designed to rid your gums of the plaque that has built up. Plaque and tartar are removed and the gums are smoothed over. They are routine procedures that don’t take more than two or three visits, including an initial examination. 

Scaling and root planing are effective treatments for issues such as:

  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis). The inflammation of your gums is where it all begins. Once inflamed, the gums begin to suffer and decline. Scaling and root planing will ease inflammation, eliminating further plaque buildup, and hopefully, keep gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis.
  • Periodontitis. Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease that not only impacts the gums but also the tooth, root and periodontal tissue. It cannot be reversed but can be mitigated with SRP. 
  • Receding gums. Gum recession is another common problem in American adults. Scaling and root planing help the teeth reattach themselves to the gums.

What is Tooth Scaling?

The process of plaque removal in your gums begins, believe it or not, with your teeth. Tooth scaling refers to the removal of the countless bacteria that build up around each of your teeth. The bacteria has caked itself around each layer of the tooth, especially the dentin (or outer layer of enamel). A thick cement of bacteria has formed, and the process of scaling removes it.

What is Root Planing?

Root planing is the next step of the equation. After a deep-clean under your gums, the path of the treatment is gone over once more to remove access bacteria. The bacteria is rinsed out and your gums are much less painful.

What is The Process of Treatment? 

Depending on the severity of your case, the entire SRP process will go roughly as follows:


    1. Examination of your gums. Your first appointment will include a thorough breakdown of what needs to be done. Expect an in-depth exam and possibly X-rays. 
    2. Tooth scaling. The day of the procedure scaling is the first step. 
    3. Root planing is normally done right after tooth scaling, but conditions vary based on each case.
    4. Irrigation. A rinse-out will purge your mouth of excess bacteria.
    5. Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection.

Note that patients who undergo SRP do not usually experience pain during the treatment. Regular numbing is administered, and local anesthesia may be used if the case is severe. 

Family Dental Group in Gilbert

Scaling and root planing may sound like an intimidating procedure, but don’t worry. Our team at Lifetime Family Dental is caring and with you every step of the way in the fight against gum disease. If you think you may be in need of SRP, schedule an exam today.

Image by Joseph Shomelian on Pixabay.