Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Root Planing and Scaling for Gum Disease
Root planing and scaling is one of the most
effective ways to treat
gum disease before it becomes severe. Root planing and
scaling cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the
roots. Your dentist may need to use a
local anesthetic to numb your gums and the roots of
Some dentists and dental hygienists will use an
ultrasonic tool for the planing and scaling. This tool is not as uncomfortable as a
standard scraping tool, but not all cleanings require this type of tool.
Your dentist may place
antibiotic fibers into the pockets between your teeth
and gums. The
antibiotic will help speed healing and prevent
infection. The dentist will remove the fibers about 1 week after the
If anesthesia is used, your lips and
gums may remain numb for a few hours. Planing and scaling causes little or no
Root planing and scaling is done
when gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the
teeth have hard mineral deposits (tartar) on them.
If you maintain good dental care
after the procedure, the progression of gum disease should stop. And your gums
will heal and become firm and pink again.
Root planing and scaling can introduce harmful
bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. You may
need to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that
puts you at high risk for a severe infection or if
infections are particularly dangerous for you. You may need to take antibiotics
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerSteven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.