Scaling and root planing is the primary method for treating periodontal (gum) disease. When plaque and tartar have built up at a greater depth than a preventative cleaning can tackle, your dental hygienist will recommend a scaling and root planing procedure. This means that they will be using specially-designed dental tools to remove the build-up below the gum line that is preventing the gum tissue from being tightly attached to the root surface of your tooth. Removing the build-up allows the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth thereby preventing further contamination from the bacteria and halting further damage to your teeth and bone.
In most cases, a local anesthetic is used during the procedure and you may experience some discomfort following. Your hygienist will give you suggestions for home care to aide in the healing process. Once the process is complete, your dentist will determine if additional periodontal surgery is required.