Deep cleaning or Scaling and root planning is the most common, conservative and non-surgical therapy used to treat gum disease. Scaling is the process of removing plaque and calculus around teeth especially below the gum line along the root surface. Root planning smoothes the irregular surfaces along the roots after scaling. Deep cleaning is done during the early stages of gum disease and quite often this may be all that is needed to get the progression of gum disease under control. In advanced or severe gum disease, scaling and root planning is done as a first step before gum surgery. Depending on the depth of periodontal pockets, your hygienist may suggest you be given local anesthetic to numb the area to be scaled and root planned. This will make the treatment go smoothly causing very little to no discomfort.
This may be done in two to four visits depending on each patient’s clinical situation. Scaling and root planning is done with a combination of ultrasonic or hand instruments. After deep cleaning, for the first few days you may experience gum soreness and temperature sensitivity which can be relieved by over the counter pain meds. Your hygienist may suggest the use of antiseptic mouth rinse as well to speed the healing of your gums. You may also notice minor bleeding from your gums after deep cleaning during brushing and flossing which should resolve in a few days. You will need a follow-up visit with your hygienist to reevaluate your gums and remeasure your pockets to see if you responded well to deep cleaning. It is important that you follow all the instructions given to you by your hygienist or dentist. If your hygienist feels that the condition of your gums is less than adequate despite deep cleaning, your dentist may suggest other options including seeing a Periodontist.