Scaling & Root Planing 1 - 2 hrs

Since brushing and flossing only go about three millimeters below the gum line, something more is needed to clean the deeper pockets. The goal of root planing is to eliminate the source of infection by removing the plaque, tartar and bacterial toxins from surfaces of the roots.

Tartar shows up on an x-ray as small white lumps on the sides of the teeth. Routine cleanings remove plaque and calculus from above the gum line. Root planing removes plaque and calculus from below the gum line.

To keep you comfortable, we numb tissues before root planing begins. Using special instruments, we carefully and meticulously remove the plaque and tartar that extend below the gum line. Then we smooth the root surfaces. This treatment allows the infected gum tissue to heal and to form new, healthier attachments to the root surfaces, and your gums begin to tighten around your teeth.


Home care is the key to maintaining the healing process. We will give you the tools and techniques to use at home as part of your treatment. Normally, root planing is spread across two appointments, so we can track the healing and help you fine-tune your home care efforts.

In addition to new home care techniques, more frequent dental cleanings, we may also prescribe antibiotics or an antimicrobial mouth rinse to fight the growth of bacteria that leads to periodontal disease.

In cases of advanced periodontal disease, and in some cases where pockets fail to heal after root planing, we may also recommend periodontal surgery (pulling the gums back to gain proper access to the root surfaces, re-sculpting the bone and gums, and placing several sutures to aid healing).

Other treatments

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