Scaling and Root Planing

There may be certain cases where the dentist tells you a “deep cleaning” is needed. If you 

go longer than the recommended amount of time between cleanings you may have a higher 

risk of periodontal problems. If plaque and calculus/tarter is not removed from your teeth, 

the inflammation will work its way down towards the foundations of the tooth causing a 

“periodontal pocket”. This creates a deep space around the tooth that you are not able to 

adequately clean on your own so the dentist or hygienist has to clean beneath the gums to 

get rid of the bacteria.


Without this treatment, the gum disease can break down the bone around the tooth so that eventually the tooth will become loose. Often a person will have no symptoms unless a proper dental exam is performed. Unfortunately, the damage to the bone around the teeth is irreversible, however if the gum disease is caught in time, its progression can be halted and improved upon which is the key to maintaining your periodontal health (the health of your gums and supporting structures such as bone). 


Typically with deeper periodontal pockets, the scaling and root planning procedure might be broken down into multiple appointments to have time to adequately clean each area of your mouth. The dentist will usually get you numb so the deep areas can be cleaned thoroughly and you will be comfortable for the procedure. Once the initial deep cleaning is completed, your periodontal status will be reevaluated in a few weeks to determine whether more frequent cleanings are needed.