Treating Gum Disease with Root Planing and Scaling

Smiling dentist and her happy patientWhen bacteria build up in the mouth, they are likely to develop into plaque and tartar, both of which lead to tooth decay. However, the teeth are not the only thing threatened by this harmful buildup. If plaque and tartar works its way beneath the gum line, gum disease is likely to develop. Gum disease negatively effects the health of the teeth and may eventually lead to gum recession and even tooth loss. At Jason L. Downey, DDS Dentistry, we offer a range ofrestorative dentistry treatments to improve the health of the teeth and gums. One treatment that is effective in treating gum disease for our Las Vegas patients is root planing and scaling, which is a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums.


Root planing and scaling is a treatment that is able to effectively treat moderate degrees of gum disease. This treatment can improve gum health and rid the mouth of bacteria or infection so that gum disease does not progress to the point that more invasive treatments, such as surgery, are required.

Root planing and scaling involves a cleaning of the teeth that extends beneath the gum line, all the way down to the root of the tooth. Because this is such a thorough procedure, it is usually performed with the use of a local anesthetic, in order to ensure complete patient comfort. Using either a traditional scraper or an ultrasonic tool, bacteria, plaque and tartar are removed from the visible surface of the tooth, as well as the tooth structure that is beneath the gum line. This is considered the scaling portion of the treatment. Root planing, which follows the scaling procedure is basically a sanding down of the tooth and roots. It allows our dentists to smooth out any rough spots, which are likely to harbor harmful bacteria.

After scaling and root planing is complete, it is likely that antibiotics will be placed beneath the gums, typically in the form of fibers or a rinse. This ensures that any remaining bacteria are eliminated and helps to prevent infection while the gums heal. The patient may also be given an antibacterial rinse for continued use at home throughout the healing period.

Candidates for Treatment

Root planing and scaling is ideal for patients who have moderate to advanced stages of gum disease. This is a more conservative treatment than oral surgery, yet is highly successful in reing gum health and reversing the signs of gum disease. Symptoms that may indicate gum disease and the need for root planing and scaling include the following:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Pain or sensitivity of the gums or teeth
  • Receding gum line, or “pockets” between the teeth and gums

If these symptoms are present, patients should consult their dentist as soon as possible to discuss treatment.

Contact Us

At Jason L. Downey, DDS Dentistry, your oral health is our top priority. We offer a range of treatments that effectively restore oral health while maintaining patient comfort and satisfaction. If you are concerned with the health of your teeth or gums,please contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your treatment options. We look forward to hearing from you!