What is Scaling and Root Planing?

A man that needs scaling and root planing showing his diseased gums.
Caption: If untreated, gum disease can result in tooth loss, inflamed gums, and bone loss.

What Is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing, also called deep cleaning, is a treatment offered at Dental Partners of Boston that doesn’t require surgery. It is often an initial non-surgical treatment for gum disease. Using specific instruments, a licensed dental hygienist cleans the surface of the tooth root. The surface is also smoothed by removing tartar below the gum line.

If untreated, gum disease can result in tooth loss, inflamed gums, damage to and loss of the jaw bone (alveolar bone), etc. It’s important to schedule an appointment to have this procedure done as soon as possible.

Appointments Required

This procedure might need 2 to 3 appointments to ensure all tartar is removed. The tissue within the teeth is sensitive. Therefore, a local anesthetic ensures only minor discomfort during the procedure.
An appointment is scheduled within 6 weeks of the initial scaling and root planing procedure to re-assess the build-up and recommend the next steps.

The Process

Firstly, scaling will scrape the tartar and plaque off the teeth. Then, root planing will smooth the roots. By smoothing the root’s surface, the gum will heal and reattach to the teeth. Even though it’s a non-surgical procedure, after treatment, there might be slight discomfort as the gum is healing.

At Dental Partners of Boston, Dr. Guzman will ensure that all disease above the gum line is removed. If located underneath the gum, it’s a little more difficult to locate and remove. If he can’t remove all of the tartar, bacteria, and plaque, you may need further non-surgical treatments.

At Dental Partners of Boston, we manage and treat periodontal disease correctly no matter your symptoms or severity. We want you to have the best possible dental hygiene help, giving you a sparkling and healthy smile.

Throughout your scaling and root planing appointments, we guide you through the appropriate oral hygiene practices and techniques that you should use at home. Unfortunately, there is no cure for gum disease, therefore it’s important that you try to keep the amount of plaque buildup as minimal as possible by following a frequent brushing routine.


It’s important to know that following the procedure, you shouldn’t eat until approximately 3 hours after the procedure. This will ensure that the numbness has gone away and that you won’t accidentally bite your tongue/irritate your gums. If you are still feeling sensitivity in your gums for a while after the procedure, you can either use warm salt-water to rinse out the area or use Tylenol.

Schedule An Appointment Today

Are you wanting to find out more about scaling and root planing? Schedule a consultation with us today. Our Boston periodontist, Dr. Guzman, can guide you through the procedure.

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