Our Treatments & Services
Gum Treatment (Scaling)
Scaling and root planing is the most common and conservative form of treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Scaling is the removal of calculus (commonly called tartar) and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Plaque is a sticky substance, full of bacteria, that forms on teeth. When plaque hardens over time, it is called calculus.
Plaque is more likely to stick to rough surfaces. For this reason, the root surface is made smooth in a process called root planing. Root planing removes any remaining calculus and smooths irregular areas of the root surface.
Typically, ultrasonic instruments are used first to remove large deposits of plaque and calculus from the crowns and roots of the teeth. Hand instruments called scalers and curettes are then used to remove any remaining material and make sure that the tooth surface is clean and smooth. When working under the gum line, your dentist or hygienist cannot see the plaque or calculus. He or she will rely on the sense of touch to feel for roughness on the root surface.
Mild bleeding during the scaling process is normal and to be expected. For two to three days after the treatment, you may have some soreness and be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help but the sensitivity should go away soon after.