Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

Keeping your mouth healthy is a dental professional’s job. The biggest part of which is helping patients in the fight against gum disease. It plagues nearly half of the U.S. population and can lead to tooth loss. 

Scaling and root planing gives your teeth and gums a deep cleaning, getting rid of harmful, gum-disease-causing plaque. It's a vital treatment if you're diagnosed with moderate gum disease. Here's how it works! 

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing are non-invasive procedures that remove built-up plaque and tartar from around your teeth. 

When used in conjunction, the process is often called deep cleaning. It is a much more effective method of dental cleaning than traditional cleaning, especially when it comes to treating periodontal disease

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, which hardens and becomes impossible to remove with regular brushing and flossing. 

This bacteria gets into your gum line, forming pockets that pull your gums away from your teeth. Scaling and root planing cleans all of this bacteria out, allowing your gums to reattach to your teeth. 

Common signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Swollen Gums

  • Sensitive or Sore Gums

  • Gum Discoloration

  • Bleeding Gums When Brushing or Flossing

  • Receding Gums


The scaling part of deep cleaning is when a dental professional removes the plaque and tartar from around the base of your teeth and below your gum line. This is done using a manual or ultrasonic cleaning instrument.

Root Planing

Root planing follows the scaling procedure. It involves planing or smoothing the gum pockets to allow them to heal faster and reattach to your teeth. 

Who Needs Scaling and Root Planing?

Those with periodontal disease need scaling and root planing. It’s usually the first step dental professionals take when fighting gum disease.

Failing to have your gums and teeth deep cleaned after being diagnosed with gum disease usually leads to tooth decay and bone loss. 

What to Expect with Scaling and Root Planing

When you go in for your scaling and root planing appointment, you can expect it to start like a six-month checkup. We will clean your teeth as normal, before administering a local anesthetic to ensure you’re comfortable during the process. 

After the anesthetic kicks in:

  1. The doctor will use a tool to break up and remove the plaque and tartar from around the tooth and beneath the gum line. This will either be with a manual scraper or an ultrasonic water jet.

  2. Once the plaque and tartar are removed, the doctor will plane your gums so they will be able to heal quicker and reattach to your teeth. This involves using a tool that goes into your gum pocket and smooths the surface.

  3. Finally, pocket irrigation is utilized to cleanse below your gum line

Does Scaling and Root Planing Hurt?

The process of scaling and root planing should not hurt because a local anesthetic is administered before the deep cleaning.

However, you will likely experience some discomfort and soreness for a couple of days following the procedure. To limit soreness, we will usually only work on one mouth quadrant at a time — scaling and root planing your whole mouth will take four visits.

You can use over-the-counter pain medications as needed until the pain subsides. 

How Much Does Scaling and Root Planing Cost?

Scaling and root planing usually costs between $100 and $300 per tooth. 

If you need the majority or all of your mouth treated, it can cost between $800 and $1,500.   While some patients might need scaling and root planing for every single tooth, this isn't always the case. 

Does Insurance Cover Scaling and Root Planing?

Since scaling and root planing procedures are usually considered necessary to prevent gum disease from progressing, most insurance companies will cover about 80% of the cost. 

To know what the exact cost for your scaling and root planing procedure would be, we recommend getting in touch with your dentist. They will break down the full cost, what your insurance covers, and how much you'll need to pay out of pocket. 

Scaling and Root Planing in Fremont, CA

If you’re looking for a nonsurgical treatment option for mild gum disease,scaling and root planing is for you. Schedule an appointment today before it progresses. 




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