Scaling and Root Planing At Triad Cosmetic Dentistry

What is Scaling and
Root Planing?

Periodontal disease often leads to invasive procedures like root canals. Scaling and root planing is a treatment that helps prevent any need for a root canal procedure. The idea behind these preventative measures is to remove the dental plaque and tartar that leads to gingival inflammation and disease.

Scaling and root planing are often stand alone procedures and preventative measures used when Dr. Macdonald notices that your teeth are at risk of becoming seriously infected.

This video shows you how excessive calculus and bacterial deposits are removed from beneath the gumline to stop the spread of periodontitis.

How Does the
Procedure Work?

The first and most important step in the process is a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. After an in-person examination, x-rays may need to be taken to further examine your mouth.

If there is enough tartar present, your gums are unhealthy, or the progression of periodontitis hasn’t gone too far, Dr. Macdonald may suggest scaling and root planing. If you’re concerned about the treatment being painful, don’t be. Local anesthesia may be used to reduce or eliminate any discomfort.


Scaling is the removal of calculus and plaque attached to the tooth’s surface. The focus area of this process is below the gum line where the tooth is most at risk. An ultrasonic scaling tool cleans close to the root.

During the process, an irrigation device is typically utilized to remove infection or plaque while injecting an antimicrobial agent at the same time. This helps prevent further infection and assists with the natural healing process.

Root Planing

Root planing is a process designed to remove cementum and surface dentine embedded in tartar. Unwanted microorganisms and toxins may also be found in tartar that require removal. After this removal, the root of the tooth is smoothed out to promote healing and prevent bacteria colonization.

Antibiotic fibers may be placed in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing to further protect from infection and support healing.

If pockets between teeth and gums are too deep. It may be difficult to completely remove all plaque and tartar. In this instance, it could be too late for preventative measures and Dr. Macdonald may suggest a root canal procedure.

The Benefits of

Scaling and root planing offer extremely effective protection against periodontal diseases. If you want to avoid a root canal procedure, scaling and root planing are likely your best line of defense. Avoiding treatment for periodontal disease can be extremely dangerous.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is scaling and root planing painful?

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure that causes little to no discomfort. We’ll apply a local anesthetic to numb your gums before the treatment starts, ensuring you don’t feel any pain. Once the procedure is complete, you may experience mild tenderness in your gums, but nothing more.

How long does scaling and root planing take?

Scaling and root planing can typically be completed in just one appointment. The treatment usually only takes an hour or two, allowing you to eliminate your gum infection with minimal inconvenience. If your infection is widespread, the procedure may take longer. In some cases, your dentist may only work on one side of your mouth per appointment or treat a quadrant at a time over the course of four visits.

How often do I need scaling and root planing?

Hopefully, one scaling and root planing treatment is all you need to eliminate gum disease. With proper oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist, you can protect yourself from the infection ever coming back. In the event that it does, it’s crucial to get treatment as quickly as possible, before your infection becomes more difficult to manage. Once your infection progresses to periodontitis, scaling and root planing likely won’t be enough to get rid of it.

Will dental insurance cover scaling and root planing?

Since gum disease poses a significant threat to your overall health, scaling and root planing is considered a medically necessary treatment by insurance providers. In many cases, insurance will cover 50% or more of your treatment, helping to significantly reduce your overall cost. If you have any questions about your insurance plan, our team will be happy to help ensure you maximize your benefits.

Save Your Smile

Don’t wait until a root canal is needed or your tooth is falling out! Contact Dr. Macdonald and find out how you can save your smile from serious infection. Give us a call at [phone-number] and we will gladly answer any questions you have about the health of your smile.