Scaling and root planing are the first stages of treatment for mild to moderate periodontitis. Three things are accomplished with these procedures:
- Removing tartar and infection from the periodontal pockets
- Smoothing the surface of the tooth root to give bacteria less space to grow
- Help the gums adhere to the tooth root so that bacteria and food debris will be kept out
Root planing involves removing a very small portion of the hard outer coating of the tooth root to make the surface smooth. This procedure is usually done with a numbing agent or a local anesthetic to keep discomfort to a minimum. Many patients choose to have one quadrant of their mouth done at a time to prevent their whole mouth from being too sore afterward. An antibiotic may be used in the infected pockets. Some patients may need an oral antibiotic after root planing to get rid of any lingering bacterial infection.