Scaling and root planing, also known as “deep cleaning,” is a form of nonsurgical periodontal therapy and is often the first step in periodontal treatment.  The objective of scaling and root planing is to remove etiologic agents from above and below the gum line which cause inflammation to the gum tissue and surrounding bone.

Common agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and calculus (tartar).  Scaling and root planing is considered the basic treatment of periodontal diseases and may be the only treatment required to treat mild cases of periodontitis; however, it may also be the initial therapy prior to future surgical needs.

For the procedure to be considered effective, the patient must be able to be maintained at a level of periodontal health that will prevent reinfection with periodontal pathogens.  This requires optimal home care and ongoing periodontal maintenance therapy, usually every 3 to 4 months to sustain health.