Scaling and root planing is the most common and conservative form of treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Scaling is the removal of calculus (commonly called tartar) and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root.
For some patients, scaling and root planing can cause discomfort. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the portion of your mouth that is being worked on.
Scaling and root planing are done with a combination of ultrasonic scalers and hand instruments. Ultrasonic instruments are electric or air-powered.
For two to three days after the treatment, you may have some soreness and be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help.
You may be asked to use an antiseptic mouth rinse after scaling and root planing. This is especially likely if your gums are very sore. However, you should continue brushing and flossing as usual. You can expect some minor bleeding in the first days after scaling and root planing. This usually stops within few weeks.