Local Anesthetic Scaling & Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)

What is the difference between Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)? 

Scaling and Root Planing is a special type of treatment that goes deeper below the gum line to remove contaminated debris, pus and bacteria.

In a regular cleaning, scaling is performed on the part of the tooth that is exposed above the gum line. A regular cleaning (prophylaxis) involves scaling and polishing procedures that remove plaque, tartar (calculus), and stains from the exposed areas of teeth. The scaling process scrapes away bacterial plaque and tartar from the tooth. 

In a deep cleaning, a combination of scaling and root planing is employed to treat early-stage periodontal (gum) disease. While scaling can only remove dental tartar from the surfaces of the teeth, root planing smoothens the root surfaces and removing any infected tooth structure. If you have gum disease or gum pocketing, the gum pockets around the teeth will have deepened, thereby allowing tartar deposits to form under the gumline. Our doctors and Oral Health Therapist have to get under the gumline and scrape the plaque off so that the gum tissue becomes healthy again and re-attaches itself to the tooth structure. Any roughness can be planed away to result in a silky smooth surface so the gum can reattach firmly to the spotlessly clean root surface to help prevent tooth loss. Otherwise, further development of periodontal disease will result in bone loss, root decay, and eventually tooth loss.

Although deep cleaning is effective at removing plaque buildup, it does not eliminate all the bacteria that cause gum disease. When necessary, treatment may also include LASER-Assisted Gum Treatment to effective disinfect the pockets between the gum and the tooth root to remove bacteria.


What are the benefits of Scaling and Root Planing?

  • Control the growth of harmful bacteria
  • Help gums or pocket wall reattach firmly to the spotlessly clean root surface to help prevent tooth loss
  • Prevent further bleeding of the gums
  • Reduces gum swelling and discomfort
  • Decrease tooth sensitivity due to gum recession
  • Prevent bone loss due to gum disease

Will there be any discomfort?

Depending on the depth of the pocket and severity of the root surface irregularity, our doctors and Oral Health Hygienist may numb the area so that the process is comfortable for you.

The only sensation may be felt after the anesthesia will be the physical scraping feeling along the teeth as the area is cleaned and smoothened. A root planed root surface free of tartar has a better chance of allowing the gum tissues to heal and reattach to it. As a result, some deep gum pockets can be reduced after a deep cleaning.

How long does it take?

Typically with deeper pockets and extensive rough root surfaces, the deep scaling and root planing procedure might be broken down into quadrants of work per appointment. For example, the upper right side of the mouth might be worked on one day, and the three other parts worked on at separate appointments. Or alternatively, one half of the mouth (right or left, upper or lower) might be cleaned per appointment. This also allows for only a part of the mouth being frozen at a time and makes for more manageable, shorter appointments.