Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment

Scaling and Root Planing

The American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health can sometimes be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through a non-surgical periodontal treatment called scaling and root planing.

Non-surgical periodontal treatment does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal health.

Scaling and root planing is different than a regular cleaning or periodontal maintenance. A scaling and root planing procedure may need to be done in more than one appointment. The dental hygienist will do the scaling and root planing by carefully removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and smoothing the roots of the teeth to remove bacterial toxins. This will allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth. Typically, this is done with a local anesthetic to make sure that the patient is comfortable. The scaling and root planing may be followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials, and systemic antibiotics, as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients can be stabilized long-term with the establishment of an ongoing maintenance therapy regimen to sustain oral health.