Scaling and Root Planing- Dentistry

Scaling refers to a procedure wherein tartar and plaque are scraped away. Planing makes the rough spots of the tooth smoother. Overall, scaling and root planing can deep-clean and can tooth problems like tartar and plaque. This procedure is non-surgical.

What are the different procedures?

It takes more than one clinic visit to complete the procedure; you are often referred to a dentist or a dental hygienist. During this procedure, local anesthesia will be injected to the area of your tooth problems to numb the surroundings and to make you feel less pain.

Why is scaling and root planing required?

Scaling and root planing is recommended to treat patients with periodontal (gum) disease. This is also required at least once a year to keep your teeth clean. This non-surgical procedure is known to be a high standard treatment, especially for chronic periodontitis.

Which doctor to consult?

A general dentist, a hygienist, or a periodontist are the specialists that can perform this procedure. They will explain to you more about the treatment, its risks and complications and after-care.

What to expect during the procedure

Scaling will wash away all bacterial toxins, plaque and tartar deposits from your teeth. Root planing keeps your teeth smooth; this will also keep away bacteria, plaque and tartar. This treatment can help your gums heal and function effectively.

Local anesthesia can make you feel less pain, so you don’t need to be anxious.

A vasoconstrictor is used to clean and dry the area. It will also make tooth problems be more accessible to your dentist.

A follow-up appointment with your dentist is needed to check if the procedure is successful.  Some complications may occur normally and will just go away after a few weeks. If the gum tissue treatment appears successful, your dentist will not recommend another procedure.

If a periodontal disease becomes more severe, a surgical procedure may be required by your dentist to stop the progression of bone loss.

Post-operative care

After the procedure, you are still required to have a follow-up visit with your dentist and to undergo maintenance cleaning. This visit will include routine cleaning and physical examination of your gums.


Below are some of the complications that may happen, though very rare:

  • Allergic reaction to local anesthesia or drugs given
  • Bleeding
  • Exposed root surface due to recession of gum
  • Infection
  • Margins of crown become visible
  • Need for changes in oral hygiene methods to remove food and plaque from between teeth due to increased size of triangle of space
  • Pain in the area
  • Sensitivity to temperature (requires another treatment if this complication persists)
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Tooth mobility/loss


  • Dental Implants Chandler AZ - Preparing for Scaling and Root planing - Scholes Periodontics and Implants, Chandler, AZ. (2019). Retrieved from
  • Dental Implants Chandler AZ - Preparing for Scaling and Root planing - Scholes Periodontics and Implants, Chandler, AZ. (2019). Retrieved from
  • Scaling and Root Planing - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (2019). Retrieved from
  • Slide show: Root canal treatment. (2019). Retrieved from
  • WebMD. (2019). What is scaling and root planing?. Retrieved from
  • What are the risks of root planing and scaling? | Periodontitis. (2019). Retrieved from
  • What Dentists Do When Root Planing and Scaling Teeth Colgate. (2019). Retrieved from

Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. The views expressed are personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mya Care. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen. Do not reproduce, copy, reformat, publish, distribute, upload, post, transmit, transfer in any manner or sell any of the materials on this page without the prior written permission from