Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal scaling and root planing is also known as a deep cleaning or SRP or even just scaling and root planing. You will often find that you are told you need to have this procedure performed when you have gum disease that is present. Dr. Cho will talk to you about the procedure itself and explain to you how it is performed and why it needs to be performed. Patients who are suffering from active gum disease will usually be told they need to have this treatment performed to help stop the infection and spread of the disease.

Active gum disease can stay dormant for a long time and most patients do not even know they have it until they come into our La Habra office and see Dr. Cho. When gum disease is present, it will result in gum inflammation, deep pockets in the gums, tooth loss, bone loss, and bleeding gums. It is crucial that you seek out immediate dental care if you think that you may have gum disease.

When it comes to gum disease, there are a couple of different stages and you need to be aware of them. The first stage is gingivitis and the most common. Gingivitis is easy to get and may not even present itself to you until it has greatly progressed. Gingivitis occurs when there is a large buildup of calculus, which is hardened plaque. When the plaque is not properly removed, it will harden and then become almost impossible to remove. Plaque and calculus have bacteria within them and will continue to cause bone and tissue damage until the disease is stopped.

If you allow the plaque and bacteria to sit on your teeth, the disease and infection will persist and grow worse with time. The second stage of gum disease is periodontal disease. When you have periodontal disease, your gums will begin to detach themselves from your teeth and pull away. When this occurs, you will develop pockets. The deeper that the pocket is, the more advanced your gum disease is. Eventually, if
the pockets become too deep, the bacteria will start to eat away at the bone and tooth loss will occur.

Patients who need to have a deep cleaning performed may have already experienced some type of bone loss. If you have not lost bone yet, you are on the path to lose bone. Fortunately, there are procedures that can help regenerate lost bone. When you come into our La Habra office, Dr. Cho will have x-rays taken of your teeth. From there, he will determine how much bone loss has occurred and what to do about it.

If a patient has healthy gums, the x-rays will show that there is a visible portion of the tooth under the coronal. The root of the tooth is completely buried within the bone. When a partial root is exposed, bone loss has occurred. Teeth will start to become more mobile when there is no bone around it. If a diseased tooth is left without care, it will eventually detach and fall out while infecting the teeth around it.

At Dr. Kenneth Cho Dentistry, we believe that a tooth extraction should be the LAST course of action. Therefore, Dr. Cho will recommend root planing and scaling to help save your teeth and eliminate the infection and disease that may exist.

What Happens at Your Periodontal Examination?

When you come into our La Habra office for a periodontal exam and evaluation, we will take a look at your teeth and measure the pockets. We will also take x-rays to ensure we have a clear picture of any problems that may exist.

When it comes to the measuring of your pockets, the procedure may be slightly uncomfortable, but it is not miserable. We use a special tool that is placed into the pocket to measure how deep it actually is. We will note how deep the pockets are and then provide you with the results.

If you have pockets of more than four millimeters, you will be recommended for the root planing and scaling procedure. If the pockets measure under six millimeters, then you have the beginning stages of gum disease. Anything more than six and you have advanced gum disease.

Sometimes, a deep cleaning is not as effective as it should be, especially when advanced gum disease is present. What this means is that you may need to have multiple cleanings performed and you may need to have further treatments to include antibiotics to rid the infection.

You will be given a local anesthetic for the procedure, as it can be uncomfortable for a little bit. We try our best to make you as comfortable as possible and will work with you to ensure that you do not feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Our Recommended Treatments

We mentioned above that you may need to have additional treatments with the root planing and scaling. Some of these treatments include:


This is a prescription medication that is prescribed when patients have pockets of six millimeters or more. The prescription medication will kill the bacteria and work to stop the disease.


Patients are usually prescribed this mouthwash to help keep their mouth clean and kill any bacteria that may still be present on their teeth. This mouthwash is often used for up to 10 days after the cleaning.

Schedule Your Appointment with Us Today

If you think that you may have some of the early signs of gum disease, do not wait any longer to get in touch with us. The earlier that gum disease is handled, then less treatments and procedures that you will need to undergo to correct the problem.

If you have any questions about root scaling and planing or you would like to schedule an appointment in our La Habra office, contact us now. We look forward to being able to provide you with the care you need and treatment to help eliminate any and all gum disease you may have.



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