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Root Planing and Scaling
Dr. Leyli Valera, DDS - San Jose, CA



Dr. Leyli Valera specializes in root planing and scaling, a deep cleaning procedure involving removal of dental plaque and calculus deposits below the gumline. The procedure is similar to a regular cleaning, only the cleaning occurs below the gumline, where plaque and bacteria can hide. Proper treatment for periodontal disease is critical to maintaining a happy and healthy mouth. There is a correlation between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, so patients with chronic illness, especially heart disease, have a higher risk of developing or worsening their periodontal disease. Treating periodontal disease not only to protects your oral health, but your general health as well.

Common Questions about Root Planing and Scaling

What is root planing and scaling?

Root planing and scaling is a non-invasive procedure for the treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease). It’s a deep cleaning process, treating root surfaces below the gums that have been covered by plaque and tartar.

When scaling and root planing is recommended, the patient is brought in for two appointments. Each appointment lasts roughly an hour and a half and treats each half of the mouth. The patient is provided local anesthetic so you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. The process is similar to a regular cleaning, however, the cleaning is also below the gums.

Will root planing and scaling get rid of bad breath?

Depending on the cause of bad breath, scaling and root planing can help. Bad breath or “halitosis” is often caused by bacteria in the oral cavity and/or the rest of the upper digestive system. Periodontal disease (gum disease) and gingivitis are caused by the invasion of oral bacteria and can absolutely cause bad breath. Scaling and root planing will remove this kind of bacteria, improving bad breath. However, other factors such as poor oral hygiene, tonsil stones, and diet can have an effect on the breath as well.

When/why is root planing and scaling necessary?

If your dentist detects signs of periodontal disease, including deep pockets with inflammation, the presence of bleeding, and/or subgingival calculus (hardened plaque build-up under the gums), scaling and root planing will be a non-invasive treatment recommendation.

If these areas are not cleaned and free of bacteria, periodontal disease will advance, causing bone loss and recession. Teeth can lose surrounding bone structure, and may eventually become mobile.

Does root planing and scaling hurt?

After the anesthetic has worn off, some patients experience discomfort for up to three to five days. Some patients feel no discomfort at all. Usually, a prescription mouth rinse such as chlorhexidine or warm salt water is recommended for at-home relief. Anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen can also be taken if needed.

Can root planing and scaling damage gums?

Root planing/scaling is a minimally invasive procedure. Any impact on the gums will be significantly less than the presence of calculus, inflammation, or bacteria.

Can root planing and scaling damage teeth?

Root planing and scaling is a safe, effective treatment for periodontal disease and calculus below the gum line. The procedure won’t damage your teeth, but will in fact protect them against harmful inflammation, calculus, and bacteria.

Can root planing and scaling remove enamel?

The procedure is safe and effective. It won’t harm enamel.

If I have braces, can I still have root planing and scaling done?

Yes. Neither braces or Invisalign will interfere with the procedure. However, it is highly recommended to have good periodontal health prior to any orthodontic work.

Is it covered by insurance?

Many insurances do cover root planing and scaling. If you have any questions about coverage, the team at Crown Family Dentistry can check with your insurance and be your advocate with the company, so you get the maximum benefits provided by your plan.

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