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Scaling and Root Planing

The objective of scaling and root planing is to remove bacteria and toxins, such as plaque and tartar, which cause inflammation in gum tissue and the surrounding bone.

Scaling and root planing may be recommended for the following reasons:

  • Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, there is greater risk of periodontal disease. As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of disease-causing bacteria, and the body responds with inflammation. Eventually, chronic inflammation will destroy gum and bone tissue, which may lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.

  • Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath). Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odour in the oral cavity that can often be managed with scaling and root planing.

  • Aesthetic effects – If superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of scaling and root planing.

  • Disease prevention – The oral bacteria that cause periodontal infections can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Some studies have linked systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and low birth weight in babies with untreated periodontal disease.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

Scaling and root planing treatments are performed after a thorough examination. We will take x-rays, conduct an oral examination, and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.
Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, and the depth of the pockets, local anaesthetic may be used.

Scaling – Scaling removes tartar and plaque from the surfaces of the crown and the roots. This procedure is performed with special dental instruments, including an ultrasonic scaling tool.

Root Planing – Planing removes the coating on the root that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar, leaving a smooth surface. Planing promotes good healing; having clean, smooth root surfaces helps prevent bacteria from collecting.

After a four-to-six-week healing period, we will thoroughly examine the gums to see how well the pockets have healed. If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.


Home Care
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Good home care starts with eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using various dental aids to help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

Tooth brushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA-approved soft-bristle brush and toothpaste.

  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you pay special attention to the gum line.

  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.

  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.

  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

High quality electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and remove plaque efficiently.

Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it also disrupts plaque build-up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  • Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about two inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.

  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.

  • Curve the floss into a “c” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

  • Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

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