Scaling (SCAY-ling) and root planing (PLAY-ning) are special deep cleaning procedures that are effective ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. During scaling your hygienist will remove plaque, calculus and stain from the crown down to the periodontal pockets of your teeth. Your hygienist will then proceed with root planing. This procedure consists of planing or smoothing the root surfaces of your teeth to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach. This treatment may be done over multiple visits, depending on your personal needs and the oral care plan set by you and your dentist.
Scaling and root planing, when combined with proper home care should stop the progression of gum disease. If you follow the suggested maintenance schedule and home regimen, there usually will not be an expense for any additional treatments, such as repeated scaling and planing procedures or even periodontal surgery.
Sometimes, scaling and root planing is not enough treatment on its own. If pockets do not heal enough after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed.