9377 E Bell Rd

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 563-0525Tap to Call

4611 E Shea Blvd, Ste 250

Phoenix, AZ 85028


(602) 485-3521Tap to Call

At Life Smiles Dental we want every patient to enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile. If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis (gum disease), your dentist may have recommended surgical or non-surgical treatments to reduce the presence of mouth bacteria and inflammation of your gum tissue.

One of the most effective non-surgical ways to treat periodontal disease before it becomes severe is scaling and root planing. This procedure consists of cleaning and smoothing the surface of your tooth below the gum line, and cleaning periodontal pockets that have formed since the onset of your condition.

If you would like to learn more about scaling and root planning or other periodontal treatments at Life Smiles Dental Care, or to schedule a routine dental visit, call us today at (602) 485-3521 or visit our Phoenix, Arizona office.

Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation and damage to gum tissue, due to the presence of mouth bacteria. Pockets of infection form underneath the gum line, where bacteria have damaged the connective tissues and caused gums to recede from the tooth. As the gums recede, pockets deepen and tartar can form on teeth roots, which have no protective enamel to shield them.

Most periodontal treatments are designed to (a) remove bacteria through careful cleaning, (b) deter reinfection, and (c) restore gum tissue to a healthier state. Scaling cleans teeth of tartar, so bacteria will no longer thrive and gum tissue can grow healthy once again. Root planing is the process of smoothing the roots of your teeth, to eliminate ridges so that bacteria have no place to live.

To keep your gum disease under control, we will first carefully clean the teeth and remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets, then smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Hand tools and/or ultrasonic instruments may be used to remove tartar and smooth roots. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete, depending on the extent of damage and depth of periodontal pockets.

Things to Know About Scaling and Root Planing

The actual process of scaling and root planing does not usually cause discomfort, but you might experience some soreness afterward, since the areas cleaned under the gum line may be deep. As your gums heal, your teeth themselves may become more sensitive to temperature. This sensitivity should go away in time, but we recommend over-the-counter painkillers (such as ibuprofen) to alleviate discomfort, as well as ice packs applied to the outside of the face, around the treated area. Do not apply ice directly to your gums, however.

You may also experience some bleeding after your procedure. As your gums recover from the procedure, brushing and flossing will have to be done more gently to avoid aggravating any bruised or tender gum areas. We’ll show you the best methods for keeping your teeth clean during the first days after your scaling and planing treatment.

We may prescribe medication or rinses to use after your procedure, as well. The hygienist may also apply medications directly inside your periodontal pockets. If you have questions, call us at (602) 485-3521 to speak with a member of our dental team.

An Effective Treatment

Scaling and root planing may cause some degree of sensitivity to your teeth and gums, but it is an excellent procedure for halting the advance of gum disease. Considering the fact that gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, scaling and root planing can be a valuable treatment for preserving the gum tissue that holds your teeth in place. If you follow all post-care instructions and maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of your gum disease should stop; your gums will heal, and eventually return to a firm, healthy pink appearance.

If you would like to learn more about scaling and root planning or other periodontal treatments at Life Smiles Dental Care, or to schedule a routine dental visit, call us today at (602) 485-3521 or visit our Phoenix, Arizona office.