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Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing

Help counter the effects of gum disease by treating roots and gums.

What is scaling and root planing?

When a patient has gum disease, it can cause space to form between the gum and the teeth. These are called pockets and may eventually lead to damaged roots and loss of teeth or bone. When gum disease has progressed too far to be remedied by a good, professional dental cleaning, a patient may need a scaling and root planing procedure. This kind of treatment, sometimes called a “deep clean”, involves cleaning down to the bottom of the pockets and smoothing the root area of the tooth. This encourages gums to reattach fully to the teeth. 

What is the procedure like?

A scaling and root planing procedure often requires a local anesthetic and may require more than one office visit to complete.  During the scaling portion of the treatment, Dr. Pitner may use a mechanical device called a scraper that loosens plaque on your teeth using vibrations.  During the planing process, the roots of your teeth will be deep cleaned to remove the outer layer of the area called the cementum. This part of the process encourages a healthy healing process.  


  • Teeth may have some discomfort and be sensitive for up to a week.

  • Pain can be managed using over-the-counter medication, but to prevent any infection from forming in the newly cleaned pockets, Dr. Pitner may prescribe medication as well as a special rinse.

  • Using a soft brush with gentle action will help keep the newly cleaned area from bleeding. 

  • Moving forward, regular dental hygiene habits and visits to the dentist are important to help prevent periodontal disease.

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