Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a procedure used to help get rid of plaque, tartar, and other etiologic agents that causes inflammation in the gums that leads to periodontal (gum) disease. Scaling and root planing is also referred to as “deep cleaning”.

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure that can be very effective for patients who have gingivitis and periodontal disease.

When Is Scaling And Root Planing Necessary?

Scaling and root planing is used for both preventive dentistry and as its own treatment for existing periodontal disease.


Some reasons for scaling and root planing are:

  • Preventive care: Plaque, tartar, and other bacteria that contributes to periodontal diseases can move throughout your entire body through your blood. Both heart disease and lung infections have been associated with oral bacteria. Deep cleanings clean out the bacteria and prevents gum disease from developing.
  • Freshen breath: Gum disease contributes to halitosis, or bad breath. The buildup of bacteria and food deposits creates odors in your oral cavity. By eliminating the bacteria, the odors can be alleviated.
  • Remove stains: Scaling and root planing removes plaque and tartar from your teeth and underneath your gumline. During the process, any yellowing or other stains on your teeth will be lifted as well.
  • Protects your tooth: The risk for developing gum diseases increases if your gum pockets go over 3mm deep. The deeper these pockets are, the more space available for bacteria colonies to form. Over time, your bone tissue can be destroyed which causes you to lose teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and it can be prevented through scaling and root planing.

Scaling and Root Planing In Springfield, VA

In order to determine if you could benefit from scaling and root planing, our hygienists will use a measuring tool to measure the depth of the gum pockets in your mouth. Any measurement over 3 mm may be an indication that you could benefit from a deep cleaning.

  • Scaling: We use specialized dental instruments to remove plaque and calculus from the root surfaces and the crown. We may also apply an antimicrobial agent that will help eliminate bacteria.
  • Root Planing: During root planing, we remove cementum and dentin that contains tartar, toxins, and bacteria. Your tooth’s root is smoothed down to heal properly. Smooth root surfaces make it more difficult for bacteria to build up.

After your deep cleaning, we apply antibiotics to your gums to help your gum tissue heal and to alleviate any irritation you might experience. Your hygienist will give you instructions on proper home care, which is critical for maintaining your healthy teeth after the deep cleaning is finished.

We will have a follow up appointment in order to check the status of your gum pockets, and their depth. If they’re still more than 3mm deep, Dr. Aguilar-Garcia might recommend further treatment.