Depending on the severity of an individual's periodontal disease, the initial treatment is usually a thorough cleaning called scaling and root planing, which is often referred to as a "deep cleaning." The objective of this non-surgical procedure is to remove agents such as dental plaque and calculus that cause gingival inflammation and disease.
Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment or as a preventative measure. It is commonly performed to treat cases of gingivitis and mild to moderate periodontitis.
When scaling is performed, plaque and calculus that have attached to the surfaces of the teeth are removed. The process specifically targets the area below the gum line along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental instrument called an ultrasonic scaling tool.
Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that are embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar. The root of the tooth is smoothed to promote healing and prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
Antibiotics or irrigation with antimicrobial agents may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis.