Scaling and Root Planing From a Periodontist for Gum Disease

Periodontist The Woodlands, TX

Nearly half of all adults experience some form of gum disease after age 30. A periodontist can diagnose the cause of the disease and performs scaling and root planing to improve gum health and prevent further deterioration. Failure to address gum disease promptly can lead to increased inflammation, bone loss, and tooth loss, so if you experience loose teeth or gum pain, be sure to contact a dental office about the appropriate treatment.

What are scaling and root planing?

Periodontal disease is a condition that cannot be treated with ordinary oral care methods such as brushing and flossing. Infections in the gums can cause receding gums to pull away from the teeth and form pockets where plaque can build up and cause inflammation. Although plaque buildup can be minimized with daily brushing, plaque that inhabits the small pockets in the gum line can only be cleaned with special dental equipment. Scaling and root planing are a dental deep-clean procedure to remove plaque and promote healing of the gums.

The procedure

The periodontist uses a scraping tool to remove tartar and plaque below the gum line. Scaling clears away the plaque in deep pockets that traditional dental cleanings miss. The calcified layer that covers the root of the tooth is completely removed in the scaling process. Scaling is always followed by root planing, which involves smoothing out the gums and removing the subgingival bacteria. 


Although the idea of deep gum cleaning makes some patients apprehensive, the procedure does not cause excessive pain or bleeding. Scaling and planing are outpatient procedures that do not require an overnight stay or lengthy recovery period. Afterwards, some people experience minor discomfort. Periodontists typically recommend two to four separate visits to complete the process.

How can patients prevent gum disease?

Scheduling biannual cleanings with a dentist can help prevent gum disease and avoid the need for periodontal treatment, along with these other key steps.

Practice good oral hygiene

Brushing the teeth after every meal and flossing are crucial to maintaining healthy gums. Although ordinary toothbrushes can help maintain adequate oral health, electric models may be more effective at removing plaque and keeping gums healthy.

Establish healthy habits

Patients can also modify habits to improve oral health. Smoking causes a multitude of medical conditions, and it accelerates the deterioration of the gums and weakens teeth. Quitting smoking can reduce staining and improve the overall health of the gums. Soda, coffee, and alcohol can wear down tooth enamel and damage the gums, so limiting the use of the beverages and frequent brushing can minimize the corrosive effects. 

Use mouthwash

Rinsing the mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash helps fight gum diseases like gingivitis and inhibits the growth of tartar. Using mouthwash after every brushing can help keep tartar from accumulating in the pockets of receding gums, though personal cleaning may be insufficient to avert gum inflammation once pockets have formed.


Gum cells do not regenerate after being damaged from gum disease. However, a periodontist can use scaling and root planing to reduce inflammation, remove plaque, and prevent further infection.

Request an appointment here: or call Montgomery County Periodontal Associates at (281) 404-7548 for an appointment in our The Woodlands office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Periodontist in The Woodlands, TX.

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