Scaling and Root Planing in Fort Wayne, IN

Combat Periodontal Disease at Union Chapel Dentistry

Scaling and root planing can be a life-changing experience for those suffering from gum disease. This non-surgical treatment not only reverses symptoms of periodontal disease but helps prevent further damage and tooth loss.

Our Fort Wayne dentist explains more about scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, below in our comprehensive guide.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a prevalent but asymptomatic infection that’s identified by gauging the interval between teeth and gums during periodic examinations. It’s believed that bacteria present in plaque is the primary factor that results in the gums pulling away from the teeth, creating pockets in which bacteria can thrive.

Untreated gum disease can lead to several unpleasant symptoms, including pain, swelling, and bleeding gums. It may also lead to halitosis (bad breath) and even tooth loss in severe cases.

Additionally, individuals suffering from chronic periodontal disease may experience deep pockets between their gums and teeth.

Causes of Gum Disease

Plaque, a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth below the gum line, plays a crucial role in the development of gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for keeping plaque at bay. If it’s not removed, toxins that are harmful to the gums can be produced.

Gum disease is attributed to a range of elements such as:

  • Inadequate oral hygiene
  • Neglecting dental visits
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Prescription medications
  • Family history

When it comes to smoking, hormonal shifts, prescription medications, and family history, these factors can all contribute to an increased risk of gum disease.

Stages of Gum Disease

The stages of gum disease include gingivitis, mild periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the initial stage and is identified by inflammation of the gums. At this early stage, the condition is still reversible with proper dental care, such as deep cleanings.

As gum disease progresses, it enters the stages of mild and moderate periodontal disease, characterized by the presence of pockets between the teeth and gums and the initial stages of bone loss. Moderate periodontal disease is characterized by deeper pockets between the teeth and gums and more extensive bone loss.

Advanced periodontal disease is the most severe stage, often leading to tooth loss and requiring more invasive treatments. It’s essential to treat chronic periodontal disease as soon as possible, lessening the chances of permanent damage.

patient showing signs of gum disease

What Is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical deep cleaning procedure that entails the removal of plaque and tartar below the gum line, as well as the smoothing of rough tooth surfaces. This treatment is often performed by dentists, periodontists, and dental hygienists and is necessary to treat gum disease.

The purpose of deep cleanings is to eliminate bacteria, reduce inflammation, and create a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.

How Scaling and Root Planing Treatment Works

The primary goal of scaling and root planing is to remove the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that cause gum disease, and to smooth the root surfaces to help the gums reattach to the teeth. This non-invasive procedure can provide significant benefits in the treatment of gum disease and help prevent further damage and tooth loss.

By thoroughly cleaning the teeth and root surfaces, teeth scaling and root planing can effectively treat and prevent the progression of gum disease. A deep cleaning may require multiple visits, depending on the severity of the periodontal disease and the extent of the treatment needed.

Scaling and root planing involve two main steps:

Dental Scaling

Dental scaling is the process of removing dental plaque, tartar (calculus), and bacterial toxins from the surfaces of the teeth, both above and below the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth and contains bacteria. Over time, if not removed, plaque hardens and turns into tartar, which cannot be eliminated by regular brushing and flossing alone. Scaling is typically done using manual hand instruments, ultrasonic scalers, or both.

Root Planing

Root planing involves smoothing out the rough surfaces of the tooth roots to remove any remaining bacteria and toxins. This step helps the gums reattach to the teeth and prevents further accumulation of plaque and tartar. Root planing is performed using special dental instruments, such as curettes, which are used to clean the root surfaces.

By thoroughly cleaning the teeth and root surfaces, teeth scaling and root planing can effectively treat and prevent the progression of gum disease. A deep cleaning may require multiple visits, depending on the severity of the periodontal disease and the extent of the treatment needed.

Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing have been observed to generally reduce the periodontal pocket gap between teeth and gums by 0.5 millimeters, decreasing the likelihood of tooth, bone, and gum tissue loss due to chronic periodontal disease. This non-surgical treatment is a less invasive alternative to periodontal surgery and can provide significant benefits in treating gum disease.

In addition to reducing the pocket gap and preventing tooth loss, deep cleanings can also help improve the overall oral health of patients by removing bacteria, plaque, and tartar that contribute to gum disease. By addressing the root cause of gum disease, scaling and root planing can help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums in the long run.

young woman looking at her clean, healthy smile in a mirror at the dentist

Scaling and Root Planing Aftercare

After scaling and root planing, closely monitor your oral health and contact your dentist if there’s any pain, teeth sensitivity, or tenderness that persists or worsens. The procedure may cause some side effects, but they should fade away in a couple of weeks.

To minimize discomfort and promote healing after a deep cleaning, several instructions can be followed. Avoid hard foods and instead consume a softer diet until the comfort of chewing is restored. Brush gently but thoroughly, and rinse with either an antimicrobial or warm saline solution for a period of one to two weeks.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure a smooth recovery and minimize any potential complications.

Pain and Sensitivity Management

If you experience pain, sensitivity, or tenderness after your deep cleaning, it’s crucial to contact your dentist immediately. They may suggest returning for an additional procedure if the pockets didn’t reduce in size or professionally applying a desensitizing agent to help alleviate tooth sensitivity.

It’s also essential to monitor your oral health for any signs of infection or worsening pain. By promptly addressing any post-treatment symptoms and working closely with your dentist, you can ensure a successful recovery and maintain your oral health in the long term.

Oral Hygiene Post-Treatment

To maintain good oral hygiene and prevent future instances of periodontal disease, it’s essential to brush and floss daily, consume a balanced diet, abstain from the use of tobacco, and attend regular dental appointments.

Avoid sugary foods and beverages between meals. It’s advised to brush and floss regularly, consumes a nutritious diet, refrain from smoking, and utilize warm salt water rinses to alleviate the area. Additionally, it’s prudent to abstain from consuming hard, sticky, and acidic foods.

Scaling and Root Planing Costs

The cost of scaling and root planing can vary depending on various factors such as the geographical location, the severity of the condition, and the dental office’s fees. On average, a deep cleaning can range from $200 to $300. It’s best to consult with your dentist or dental office directly for accurate cost information.

In terms of insurance coverage, many dental insurance plans cover scaling and root planing to some extent. However, the extent of coverage can vary depending on your specific insurance plan. Some plans may cover a certain percentage of the treatment cost, while others may cover it fully or have a maximum coverage limit. Contact your dental insurance provider or review your insurance policy to understand the coverage details for scaling and root planing.

Some dental insurance plans may require a waiting period before they cover certain procedures or have limitations on the frequency of coverage. So it’s essential to be aware of the terms and conditions of your specific dental insurance plan.

To obtain the most accurate information regarding the cost and insurance coverage for scaling and root planing, it’s recommended to reach out to your dentist’s office and your dental insurance provider directly. They can provide you with specific details based on your individual circumstances and insurance plan.

A woman smiles confidently after a cosmetic dentistry procedure.

Surgical Options for When a Deep Cleaning Isn’t Enough

In cases of severe damage caused by gum disease, surgical procedures may be necessary to treat and restore oral health. Several common types of periodontal surgery can be performed to address chronic periodontitis, including pocket depth reduction, regeneration, and soft-tissue grafting.

Pocket Depth Reduction

Pocket depth reduction, also known as flap surgery, involves folding back the gum tissue to eliminate bacteria, plaque, and tartar that have accumulated. Any tissue that’s beyond repair is removed, and healthy tissue is stitched back into place. The primary goal of this procedure is to remove harmful substances from periodontal pockets around teeth and facilitate the reattachment of gums to teeth, thereby decreasing the risk of tooth, bone, and tissue loss.

Pocket depth reduction is an effective surgical option, as it addresses the underlying cause of the condition and promotes the healing and reattachment of gum tissue. By eliminating bacteria, plaque, and tartar, this procedure can help restore oral health and prevent further damage to teeth and gums.


Regeneration is a surgical procedure aimed at restoring lost bone and tissue supporting teeth that’s been damaged by severe gum disease. The procedure involves folding back the gum tissue. This helps by removing bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Bone grafts may be necessary to promote bone growth, depending on the situation. This can help regenerate damaged bones and restore normal functioning. A special kind of protein has been developed to potentially stimulate tissue growth. This could help repair the damage caused by disease.

The advantages of regeneration include enhanced oral health, decreased risk of further periodontal disease, and improved aesthetics. Regeneration can also aid in restoring the native contour of the gums and reducing the chance of additional damage to the teeth and gums.

Soft-Tissue Graft

A soft-tissue graft is a dental procedure that entails taking a limited quantity of healthy tissue from one region of the mouth and placing it in another region, generally to cover exposed tooth roots or to enhance the aesthetic of the gums. The graft is conducted by extracting a minor quantity of tissue from the upper region of the mouth or an alternate source and affixing it to the gum area, covering the roots, and reinstating the gum line to its authentic, healthy position.

A soft-tissue graft has the potential to alleviate gum recession, enhance the aesthetics of the gums, and secure the exposed roots of the teeth from further harm. This surgical option can help restore a patient’s confidence and improve their overall oral health by addressing the damaging effects of advanced gum disease.

dentist performing a procedure on a patient

Frequently Asked Questions

Reverse Gum Disease Symptoms With Nonsurgical Treatment

By understanding the causes and stages of gum disease, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking appropriate treatment when necessary, you can maintain your oral health and enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile. Don’t let gum disease hold you back — take control of your oral health today and embrace a brighter, healthier future.

To schedule an appointment with our dentist in Fort Wayne, contact our dental office today!

Union Chapel Dentistry

12714 Coldwater Rd.
Suite A
Fort Wayne, IN 46845

Office Hours

8AM – 5PM
8AM – 5PM
8AM – 5PM
8AM – 5PM
8AM – 5PM

*We see patients on Tuesdays and Thursdays