When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces are removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the roots. Scaling is performed with a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool usually includes an irrigation process that can be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help reduce oral bacteria.
Root polishing is performed in order to remove plaque from the surface of dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar. The root of the tooth is smoothed, which promotes healing and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.
If treatment is successful, scaling and root planning may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planning remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planning may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused by food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and root planning, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.