Dr Serb (Periodontist) Call Dr Peter Serb  (02) 9744 7221
Dr Gouvoussis (Periodontist) Call Dr Gouvoussi  (02) 9744 7221

Suite 19, Level 2, 12 Railway Parade
Burwood, NSW 2134

Scaling & Root Planing

In most cases the treatment for periodontal disease is a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. The outcome of this approach is to reduce the amount of irritant below the gum and allows the gum tissue to heal and repair as much as possible.

What does the procedures entail?

Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis the periodontist may recommend scaling and root planing. In most cases, a local anesthesia will be used during the procedure.

  • Scaling:
    When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental too called an ultrasonic scaling tool. It can be a bit noisy but is not uncomfortable since the teeth are made numb first.
  • Root Planing:
    Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed, which promotes healing, and also helps      prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
  • Antibiotics or mouth rinses may be recommended to help prevent the re-growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
  • When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients may have difficulty keeping these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.

Benefits of Treatment

  • Since periodontal disease and gingivitis are caused by bacteria under the gum, scaling and root planing reduces these problems by eliminating the cause.  Patients will see an elimination of gum bleeding, less bad breath and sometimes loose teeth become firmer.  Patients who have had episodes of swelling in their gums find this no longer happens.  Ultimately, the outcome of this treatment is to achieve a healthy and stable gum condition and thereby keeping the teeth much, much longer (ideally for the rest of life!)
  •  Another benefit of treatment is to reduce the risk of heart disease.  It has been shown that people with chronically infected gums have a higher risk of other health problems.  Although the exact mechanism is still speculative, the health benefits of gum treatment go beyond simply healthier teeth.
  • During treatment, the periodontists as BDS also teach their patients how to clean their own teeth properly to avoid the same disease returning in the future. In this way, the benefits of treatment are long lasting.
  • Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.