Scaling & Root Planing is the traditional name given to what is more appropriately called “non-surgical periodontal therapy.” It is the gold standard initial therapy directed at halting active periodontal disease. This procedure is performed by a dental hygienist. For many patients, non-surgical periodontal therapy will seem like no more than a regular cleaning that just takes longer. In fact it is completely different than a “regular cleaning,” and is meant to address a completely different patient need. In more complex cases, non-surgical therapy can take multiple visits and may require local anesthetic to be achieved with total comfort.
Scaling and root planning does not cure periodontal disease. Rather it halts its progression and reverses many of its damaging effects. Like many other human diseases which can be controlled but not cured (heart disease, diabetes, COPD, asthma), periodontal therapy aims to improve health and quality of life, reduce or eliminate the disease’s damaging effects, and slow or halt its progression.
Maintaining the long-term effectiveness of periodontal therapy requires ongoing maintenance treatment called “periodontal maintenance care.”