Root planing and scaling are therapeutic and time-consuming treatments to remove toxins and bacteria from the root surfaces of the teeth. Periodontal (gum and bone) disease can be treated with root planing. Removing toxins allows the body’s immune system to begin the healing process. Tartar is also scaled away. These procedures are used as complete treatment in some stages of periodontal disease, and as part of preparing the mouth for surgery in others. Several appointments, treating sections of the mouth, and local anesthesia may be required.
A person who receives root planing is a person with periodontal disease. Other treatments, including surgery, may be required to halt the condition. After the disease process is under control, a regular “cleaning” is not appropriate anymore. Instead, you will require special ongoing gum and bone care procedures, called periodontal maintenance, to keep your mouth healthy. Periodontal maintenance, which is sometimes referred to as supportive periodontal treatment, involves in-office gum and bone care that is not necessary for a healthy person. Even though a hygienist may perform regular “cleanings” and periodontal maintenance, they are not the same thing.