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Cosmetic/Restorative Dentistry

Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease affects 50% of all Americans age 30 and older. It can result in tooth loss, the need for dentures, and an array of additional health issues. Its potential severity must be treated seriously.

If you have gum disease, Dr. Faiella may recommend that scaling and root planing, along with periodontal maintenance checkups, become part of your regular dental visits, just like your cleanings and exams.

While scaling and root planing will not cure periodontal disease, it can slow or stop its progression. The purpose of this procedure is to remove the bacteria-filled plaque and tartar that inflames your gum tissues and causes bleeding. Scaling and root planing can decrease the need for surgery in the future and usually helps swollen bleeding gums become healthy and pink again.

Common Questions About Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that affects not only the gums, but also the jawbone. It can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, abscesses, as well as overall systemic issues. Periodontal disease is usually the result of poor brushing and flossing habits, and occurs after plaque has built up on the teeth and hardened. This build up, known as calculus or tartar, inflames your gum tissues, causing bleeding. Over time, this inflammation can spread into the bone surrounding the teeth, leading to bone and tooth loss, gum sensitivity, bleeding, and infection. There are four overall stages of periodontal disease, with only one being reversible.


  • Inflammation of the gums caused by a buildup of plaque
  • This is the ONLY reversible stage of periodontal disease, as it has not yet affected the bones around the teeth.

Signs of Gingivitis

  • Swelling or redness of gums
  • Bleeding when brushing and flossing
  • Bad breath
  • May be painless

Treatment Recommendations

  • Regular dental prophylaxis and checkups, combined with improved oral hygiene.


Slight Periodontal Disease

  • The bacteria have started to evolve and have began to destroy the bone around the teeth

Signs of Slight Periodontal Disease

  • Increased swelling or redness of the gums
  • Bleeding during brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Probing depths that are between 4-5 millimeters

At this stage, the condition is not reversible but it is manageable

Treatment Recommendations

  • Scaling and Root Planing, combined with improved oral hygiene.


Moderate Periodontal Disease

  • As pocket depths increase, more bacteria are able to attack not only your bones, but your bloodstream and immune system as well

Signs of Moderate Periodontal Disease

  • Same as Stage 2, but probing depths increase to 6-7 millimeters

Treatment Recommendations

  • Scaling and Root Planing, combined with improved oral hygiene


Advanced Periodontal Disease

  • As pockets around the teeth continue to get deeper, the bacteria continue to evolve and destroy the bone around the teeth

Signs of Advanced Periodontal Disease

  • Swollen , red gums that ooze pus
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Continued loosening of teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Severe halitosis, or bad breath

Treatment Recommendations

  • Periodontal surgery or Periodontal Laser Therapy are necessary at this stage to clean the deep bacteria filled pockets that have formed
  • Our excellent team of hygienists not only help Dr. Faiella with treatment of severe gum disease, they also provide deep cleaning for mild to moderate gum disease.

  • The procedure is usually done in two separate visits, one for each side of the mouth, as local anesthesia is often used.

  • After sufficiently numbing the area, ultrasonic scalers are used to gently remove the plaque (a sticky film of bacteria)  and calculus, or tartar (hardened plaque) with sonic vibrations. The curettes also act to remove the diseased inner lining of the gum pocket.

  • The clean pocket and smooth root surface encourage the gum to reattach to the root, closing up the pockets that have been fostering the further growth of bacteria.

  • The patient is then put on a 3-4 month recall program so that Dr. Faiella and her team can closely monitor your response to the treatment and maintain the results. The goal is to prevent bacteria from re-entering the pocket and initiating the process all over again. As stated earlier, the bone that has been lost will not regrow, however the gums may reattach to the tooth creating a more shallow pocket that is easier to maintain. 

  • If you do not respond to traditional scaling and root planing, or your disease has progressed to the Advanced Stage, Dr. Faiella may refer you to a Periodontal Surgeon for evaluation for Periodontal Surgery or Periodontal Laser Therapy.