Root Scaling and Planing

Even when periodontal disease is in a fairly advanced stage, it is possible to improve or even reverse the condition with non-surgical procedures. Depending on the type of disease and its severity, one of these approaches may be suggested.

Scaling

Scaling can be done above or below the gum line and involves the scraping and removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) from the tooth. Scaling done at regular teeth cleanings usually involves the crown of the tooth. However, in more extreme circumstances, it is necessary to go further below the gum line to thoroughly remove disease-causing bacteria and its byproducts on the root surface. In very advanced cases, flap surgery or a gingivectomy may be necessary to access the infected tooth root.

Planing

After the thorough cleaning of the tooth surface has been completed above and below the gum line, the root of the tooth undergoes a process called planing. This is a process of smoothing the root of the tooth, so that any remaining tartar is removed. The re-growth of healthy tissue is key in stopping the recurrence of gum disease and happens very quickly once the calculus has been removed.