Dental scaling is the most common non-surgical way to treat gum disease, which is also known as periodontitis. This will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and help your gums regain health. But if you have severe periodontal disease and your condition may require gum surgery, your dentist and periodontist may recommend a scaling and root planing before the surgery, as well as a thorough teeth-cleaning prior to the procedure. The sticky, bacteria-filled plaque that causes gum disease tends to accumulate in the area along and just below the gumline. If you have gums that are slightly receded from your teeth, you may be at increased risk for gum disease and your dentist may recommend scaling. Scaling is non-surgical, but it is a different type of procedure from a standard dental cleaning because it involves cleaning the areas of the tooth below the gum line.
How does it work?
During the teeth scaling process, your dentist or dental hygienist will numb the gums and tooth roots with a local anesthesia, but teeth scaling and root planing cause very little discomfort. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use specialized tools to remove the hardened deposits of plaque buildup (tartar) from the teeth both above and below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing rough spots on the roots of the teeth that can promote gum disease by trapping and holding bacteria.
The whole procedure may be done in a single visit, although generally a quadrant (1/4th of the mouth) or half of the mouth is recommended per appointment. After a scaling and planing, you can expect that your gums will be numb from the anesthesia and then possibly a little tender. But if you maintain a consistent oral health routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, your gums should quickly regain a firm, healthy, pink appearance.