Scaling is a type of cleaning that removes plaque and tartar from below the gumline. Because this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning your mouth is often numbed. This type of cleaning may take 1 - 4 visits to complete.
The tooth roots may also be smoothed in a procedure called root planing. A smooth root surface allows the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment.
The initial stage of treatment is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gum line.
The periodontal probe, calibrated in millimeters, measures the depth of space (the pocket) between the tooth and surrounding gum. The deeper the pocket, the more advanced the disease.
Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, Dr. Gordon may place antibiotic fibers and/or powder in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Dr. Gordon to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.