Who Should Have Scaling And Root Planing?

Mar 8, 2023 | Gum Disease

When it comes to taking care of your teeth, you may have heard of a procedure called scaling and root planing. But what is it? Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure that can be used to treat gum disease. The goal of the procedure is to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums, as well as to smooth out any rough spots on your tooth roots that could contribute to gum disease.

If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing as a way to help improve your oral health. The procedure is usually done in two visits, with the first visit being used to scale (or clean) your teeth and the second visit being used to root plane (or smooth out) your tooth roots.

Scaling and root planning are generally considered safe procedures, but as with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved. These risks include bleeding, soreness, or infection at the treatment site. If you have any concerns about whether or not scaling and root planning are right for you, be sure to discuss them with your dentist before moving forward with treatment.

Who Should Consider Scaling And Root Planing?

If your gums are red, swollen, or bleeding easily, you may have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Plaque can harden into tartar (calculus), which can lead to gum disease if not removed.

Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure that removes tartar from above and below the gum line. It also smooths rough spots on the roots of your teeth where tartar has collected. This helps to remove bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth.

Scaling and root planing are often recommended as the first line of treatment for gum disease. It may be all you need to get your gums healthy again. In some cases, additional treatments may be needed.

You should consider scaling and root planing if you have early signs of gum disease, such as gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums). Scaling and root planing can also be used to treat more advanced stages of gum disease.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Scaling and root planning are usually done in one or two visits. The first step is to numb your mouth with local anesthesia. Then, we use special instruments to remove tartar (calculus) from above and below the gum line. Next, we smooth out any rough spots on the roots where bacteria can hide.

The procedure itself takes about 30 to 60 minutes per quadrant (section) of your mouth. You may need more than one visit if you have a lot of tartar buildup or if your gums are very sensitive. Most people don’t feel any pain during the procedure, but you may feel some pressure or vibration. Afterward, your teeth may be sensitive to cold for a short time.

Benefits Of Scaling And Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a common dental procedure that involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. This procedure is often recommended for patients who have periodontal disease, as it can help to improve gum health and prevent further progression of the disease. There are many benefits of scaling and root planning, including: 

1. Improved oral hygiene: Scaling and root planing can remove built-up plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums, which can lead to improved oral hygiene. 

2. Reduced inflammation: Inflammation of the gums is a common symptom of periodontal disease. Scaling and root planing can help to reduce this inflammation, providing relief from symptoms such as pain, swelling, and bleeding gums. 

3. Prevention of further damage: If left untreated, periodontal disease can progress and lead to further damage to the teeth and gums. Scaling and root planing can help to prevent this damage from occurring by removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums, which can otherwise contribute to the progression of periodontal disease. 

4. Improved appearance: In addition to improving oral health, scaling, and root planing can also improve the appearance of the teeth by removing unsightly plaque and tartar buildup.

Risks of Scaling and Root Planing

When it comes to dental procedures, scaling, and root planing is generally considered to be a very safe and effective treatment option. However, as with any medical procedure, there are always potential risks involved.

Some of the most common risks associated with scaling and root planning include:

* Bleeding gums: This is usually only a temporary side effect and should resolve itself within a few days.

* Swelling: Again, this is usually only temporary and should go down within a few days.

* Infection: While infections are rare, they can occur. If you notice any signs of infection (redness, swelling, pain), please contact your dentist immediately.


Scaling and root planing (SRP) is a highly effective method of treating periodontal disease. If you are experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to speak with your dentist about whether SRP might be right for you. By considering all the factors involved in determining if SRP is appropriate for you, such as the severity of your condition and any potential risks or complications associated with this procedure, you will be able to make an informed decision that best fits your needs.


1. How much does it Cost?

The cost of scaling and root planing can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of your gum disease, the number of teeth that need to be treated, and whether you have insurance. In general, the procedure can range from $200 to $2000.

2. How long is the procedure?

Scaling and root planning are usually done in two visits. During the first visit, the dentist will clean above and below the gum line. This may require numbing your gums with a local anesthetic. The second visit will involve cleaning the roots of your teeth. Again, you may be given a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during this part of the procedure.

3. What Are Alternatives to Scaling and Root planning?

There are a few alternatives to scaling and root planning that can be used depending on the severity of the issue. One alternative is to use a laser instead of traditional instruments to remove tartar buildup. This method is said to be more effective and have fewer side effects. Another alternative is to use medication that can help control bacteria and inflammation. This option is often used in conjunction with other treatments.

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