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Scaling/Root Planning

Noninvasive Gum Disease Treatment

There are multiple kinds of periodontal therapy you might receive depending on how advanced your gum disease is. Generally speaking, if you have gingivitis – the earliest form of a gum infection – it’s sometimes possible to restore your health just by removing the plaque and tartar that has built up inside your mouth. Of course, some infections are more severe, and deposits might have built up in areas that aren’t normally covered with a traditional cleaning, which is why Dr. Rasmussen might recommend “deep cleaning” – also known as scaling and root planing. Contact us today to learn how this treatment could end up saving your smile.

Why Choose Periodontics & Implant Dentistry of Tallahassee for Scaling & Root Planing?

  • A Board-Certified Gum Specialist
  • Warm, Welcoming Customer Service
  • Procedure Aimed at Treating Infection at Source

What is Scaling & Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing are two different stages in a single procedure. Such deep cleanings are usually done when gum disease has advanced beyond the point where simply improving routine oral hygiene habits won’t be enough to reverse the damage that has already been done. The goal is getting rid of bacteria that has built up around or beneath the gum line. As an additional benefit, the roots of the tooth will be smoothed, which makes it easier for the gum tissue to reattach itself to the enamel. In other words, scaling and root planing could put your gums on track to recovery.

Why is Scaling & Root Planing Needed?


We’ll only recommend scaling and root planing once your gum disease has progressed to a certain point. Be aware of changes in your mouth and keep an eye out for symptoms such as receding gums, blood that appears when you brush or floss, bad breath, difficulty chewing, shifting teeth, and visible plaque buildup. You should get in touch with Dr. Rasmussen as soon as possible so that he can review the condition of your gums and the depth of any pockets that might have formed. The closer your infection is to becoming advanced periodontitis – the most severe stage of gum disease – the more likely it is you’ll need a deep cleaning. 

Scaling and Root Planing Procedure

Scaling is always the first step in the process. It’s like a traditional cleaning in that plaque and tartar are scraped away by a special tool. Of course, special attention is paid to the spaces below the gum line – specifically the areas where periodontal pockets have formed. (These pockets are hard to keep clean otherwise and could easily invite further infection if not addressed.)  Once scaling is done, root planing smooths out the normally hidden surfaces of the tooth, encouraging gum reattachment while also making it more difficult for bacteria to build up again.

Post-Operative Care

Avoid eating for about two hours after the treatment; your mouth will be numbed during scaling and root planing, and there’s a risk that you could bite your cheek or tongue before the medication has completely worn off. Rinse with salt water two or three times every day to soothe the pain. You can continue brushing your teeth normally as long as you’re gentle with the treated area.

Scaling and Root Planing FAQs

If you have signs of gum disease, Dr. Rasmussen may recommend scaling and root planing to save your smile. Although a “deep cleaning” is a routine procedure, it’s normal to have a few concerns about the road ahead. Don’t worry. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Is scaling and root planing painful?

The procedure itself doesn’t cause any pain; however, if you have inflamed gums, the tissue is probably a little tender. If you’re worried about discomfort, your periodontist can use a numbing agent to keep you comfortable. It’s normal for your gums to be sore for a couple of days afterward, but you can manage it with an OTC pain reliever.

Is there anything I shouldn’t eat after scaling and root planing?

Certain foods can affect the healing process after a deep cleaning in Tallahassee. Your periodontist will recommend avoiding anything acidic or crunchy, which can irritate the healing tissue. It’s also a good idea to eat softer foods for a few days to prevent any pain or complications while recovering.

Can I use my dental insurance for a deep cleaning?

Many dental insurance plans cover scaling and root planing as part of basic services. If the procedure is necessary for your oral health, you can use your dental coverage to offset the amount you pay. We know dental insurance is confusing, but we’re here to help. A member of our team will file the necessary forms to maximize your annual coverage. We will explain how your benefits are being used and if there’s a remaining balance. We will review your financial options to keep a healthy smile within your budget.

How can I prevent needing a deep cleaning?

A healthy smile starts at home. Committing to a solid oral hygiene routine will keep your teeth and gums healthy. Besides brushing after every meal, floss every night and use a daily mouthrinse. Your periodontist will advise you to avoid tobacco and alcohol, which can increase your risk of gum disease. Don’t forget to schedule a cleaning and checkup at least twice a year. Your periodontist may recommend more frequent cleanings after treating gum disease in Tallahassee.

What are the signs I need a deep cleaning?

Scaling and root planing differ from a traditional cleaning. The procedures are recommended when a patient has certain signs or risks of gum disease. You should request a consultation with your periodontist if you have:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Your gums appear dark or discolored.
  • Your gums are swollen and tender.
  • You develop chronic bad breath.
  • You have a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Your gum line starts to recede.

The early stage of gum disease (gingivitis) can be treated quickly without causing long-term damage to your smile. Don’t ignore the early signs of the infection. Scaling and root planing will resolve your symptoms to improve your oral and general health.

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