Scaling and Root Planing

Online Dental Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Maintaining good oral hygiene practices are not just important for the health of your teeth and gums, it is also important for your overall health. There is a strong link between your oral health and your general health. Poor oral health can lead to serious conditions. In order to avoid the development of these issues, it is crucial that you maintain a good oral hygiene regimen consisting of regular brushing and flossing as well as professional teeth cleanings at our Northern Virginia general dentistry office.

Some cases of acute periodontal (gum) disease that do not respond to more conventional treatment and self-care such as flossing may require a special kind of cleaning called scaling and root planing.

The procedure begins with administration of a local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort. Then, a small instrument called a "scaler," or an ultrasonic cleaner, is used to clean beneath your gum line to remove plaque and tartar.

The root surfaces on the tooth are then planed and smoothed. If effective, scaling and root planing helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure.  Additional measures may be needed if the periodontal pockets persist after scaling and root planing.