Scaling and Root Planning

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What is Dental Scaling and Root Planing?

Dental scaling and root planing are the two best non-invasive procedures to either avoid gum disease altogether or treat gum disease before it gets serious. Scaling is a procedure in which the dental hygienist uses a scalar device to remove the accumulated plaque and tartar from the deepest recesses of your teeth.
If there’s a pocket of space between your gums and teeth — caused by gum recession due to excessive tartar — the dentist also uses the root planing procedure to smoothen the root surface and reattach it to your teeth. Both scaling and root planing are used to treat gum disease and remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line.

What Does Scaling Feel Like?

Dental scaling can be uncomfortable, particularly if you have sensitive gums. Your dentist may offer a local anesthetic to numb your gum tissue and make the procedure more comfortable. Speak with your dental care provider about your options for desensitizing the area if you’re concerned about pain or discomfort during the process.

Dental scaling can take several visits, each one addressing a different portion of the mouth. Some dentists divide the mouth into four quadrants, while others will perform dental scaling in two halves. If you’re nervous about the process, ask your dentist if you can schedule your scaling for a single visit. Though this isn’t an option for all cases, it may be available if you have only moderate gum disease and are willing to sit for a lengthy procedure.