Scaling and root planing is a common non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease when pockets are greater than 5mm. Scaling is used to remove plauque and tartar beneath the gumline. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Using an instrument called a scaler or ultrasonic cleaner, plaque and tartar are carefully removed down to the bottom of the pocket.
The tooth's surfaces are then smoothed or planed. This procedure allows the gum tissue to heal, thus making it more difficult for plaque to accumulate on the newly smoothed root surfaces. Depending on the extent of the disease, Dr. Mangelson may recommend that one or more sections (quadrants) of the mouth be treated with scaling and root planing.