Scaling and Root Planing in the Triad of North Carolina

Restore Your
Gum Health

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. One of the biggest causes of gum disease is due to poor oral hygiene, leading to an overgrowth of built-up plaque on the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can progress into periodontitis. Fortunately, our team at Triad Cosmetic Dentistry provides a variety of solutions to reverse the effects of gum disease and get your gum health back on track. 

If you’re suffering from a mild to moderate case of gum disease, we may provide you with a scaling and root planing treatment. Learn all about this effective treatment option below.

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

Periodontal Disease Treatment

What Is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning of the teeth. Depending on the severity of your case, it may require the use of a local anesthetic and more than one appointment. This deep cleaning removes 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.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Commonly, many patients don’t even realize they’re suffering from gum disease. However, as the disease progresses, these are the symptoms you may experience:

  • Red, tender, and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Receding gumline
  • Loose teeth
  • Change in your bite
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pain when you chew
  • Persistent bad breath

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to visit one of our Triad dentists as soon as possible. They’ll perform a full-mouth examination to see if you’re suffering from gum disease.

General Dentistry and Cleanings
Periodontal Disease

The Risk Factors of Avoiding Treatment

The scaling and root planing treatment provides extremely effective protection against periodontal disease. Avoiding treatment for periodontal disease can be dangerous because:

  • Infection can spread from the gums into the bloodstream — this can quickly affect other parts of your body. This spread may lead to heart and respiratory diseases if left untreated. 
  • It can cause tooth loss — if a gum pocket exceeds 3mm in-depth, the rise of periodontal infection significantly increases. The more these pockets deepen, the riskier these infections become. 
  • If a bacterial infection becomes severe enough, it can lead to a chronic inflammatory response — this may cause your body to react defensively and destroy gingival and bone tissue. Once this occurs, tooth loss is sure to follow.

How Does the
Procedure Work?

The first and most important step in the gum disease treatment process is a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. After this exam, we may need to take X-rays to further examine your mouth.

If there’s enough tartar present, your gums are unhealthy, or it hasn’t progressed into periodontitis, Dr. Macdonald may suggest scaling and root planing. If you’re concerned about the treatment being painful, don’t be. A local anesthetic may be used to reduce or eliminate any discomfort.


Scaling is the removal of calculus and plaque attached to the tooth’s surface. The main area of this treatment is below the gum line where the tooth is most at risk. Our ultrasonic cleaning tool cleans close to the tooth root for precision and efficiency. 

During the process, an irrigation device is typically used 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 can also be found in tartar, which needs to be removed. 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 root 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does scaling and root planing take?

In most cases, scaling and root planing only takes one appointment at our Archdale dental office. The entire treatment lasts about one or two hours, eliminating your gum infection with minimal inconvenience. If your case is severe and the infection is widespread, the procedure may take longer or require multiple appointments. 

Is scaling and root planing painful?

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure that causes little to no discomfort. Before treatment, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to ensure the gums are numb for a pain-free and comfortable procedure. Once the treatment is complete, it’s normal to experience mild tenderness in your gums. 

How often do you need scaling and root planing?

Typically, one scaling and root planing treatment is enough to get rid of your bacterial infection and reverse your gum disease symptoms. With a proper oral hygiene routine and regular visits to your dentist, you can protect yourself against the infection returning. If your gum disease comes back, it’s vital to get treatment as soon as possible, before it becomes difficult to manage. 

Does insurance cover scaling and root planing?

Yes, in most cases insurance will cover the costs of scaling and root planing. We recommend contacting your provider to get a more in-depth explanation of your coverage. For your convenience, we offer a variety of financing options to make sure you get the care you need.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our office at (336) 434-3186, and one of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to assist you.

Save Your Smile at Triad Cosmetic Dentistry

Don’t let your periodontal disease go untreated. With scaling and root planing, our team of Triad dentists can save the appearance of your smile and restore your gum health. To learn more about our periodontal disease treatments, call our Archdale office at (336) 434-3186. You can also get in touch by filling out our online contact form. We proudly serve the High Point, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem communities.