What Is Dental Scaling? Dental scaling is essentially a professional deep-clean of the teeth and gums performed by a dentist or periodontist. It’s typically used for people who have periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, as a type of non-surgical periodontal therapy. Gum disease is caused by excessive plaque build-up on the teeth and gums. The bacteria in the plaque can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets can collect even more bacteria, continuing the cycle. Dental scaling removes plaque and bacteria with a technique and tools that are much more effective than a toothbrush or floss. The procedure is two-fold, involving scaling and root planing. Scaling is a deep-cleaning procedure that removes plaque from the teeth and gumline. A dentist or periodontist can use a handheld instrument or an ultrasonic instrument to maneuver in between the teeth and gumline Root planing typically follows the scaling procedure and gets deeper into the tooth’s root, cleaning the root and smoothing the root’s surface, which allows the gums to better adhere to the root and close any pockets caused by plaque build-up. In addition to scaling and planing, your dentist may also administer medication—a procedure known as host modulation—in your gums to help strengthen them against gum disease and reduce chances of infection. Scaling and root planing typically take about 45 minutes for each quadrant of the mouth and often require more than one appointment. You can expect to feel some soreness after the procedure and experience swelling in the affected areas. Should I Get Dental Scaling? If you have gum disease, and your dentist recommends dental scaling then yes, you should proceed with the procedure, but it’s still good to know exactly what you’re getting into. Dental scaling has its pros and cons. Teeth Scaling If you have gum disease, and your dentist recommends dental scaling then yes, you should go ahead with the procedure. However, it’s still good to know exactly what you’re getting into. Dental scaling has its pros and cons. Dental Scaling Pros It reduces the effects of gum disease and helps prevent gum disease from advancing. It cleans the teeth much more thoroughly than any at-home treatment can. It will protect the roots of your teeth from harmful plaque and bacteria. It is an out-patient procedure and though it may require more than one appointment, it is a relatively simple procedure. It will help get rid of bad breath associated with gum disease. It will give you peace of mind that your gum disease is under control. Dental Scaling Cons For patients with a suppressed immune system, the procedure can be harmful to your health. You will most likely need local anesthesia for the procedure. It can't cure periodontal disease, because periodontal disease isn't curable. It will probably require more than one appointment to have the full procedure done. The benefits of the procedure depend on the patient's diligence with an at-home hygiene routine. It could cause your gums to recede, which might change the aesthetic appearance of your smile. Scaling and Root Planing Talk to your dentist about the specific pros and cons of scaling and root planing for you and your condition. More than likely, the pros will far outweigh the cons. Scaling and root planing are largely considered the gold standard for treating periodontal disease. A study on teeth scaling and root planing showed that these procedures reduced pocket gaps by an average of .5 millimeters in patients, which is significant in preventing the advancement of gum disease. How Often Do You Have To Get Dental Scaling? Dental scaling isn’t required twice a year like regular cleanings are, but as mentioned above, you may need to have multiple dental scaling appointments with your periodontist depending on the severity of your gum disease. You will probably also be instructed to go to your dentist every few months for regular cleanings, rather than every six months to make sure your periodontal disease is under control. You will have a follow-up appointment after your teeth scaling and root planing to make sure your pockets have reduced in size.