Dr. Kenneth Klonsky
Oral Surgery/Implants/Periodontist

Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing

The objective of scaling & root planing is to remove dental plaque and tartar which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone.  

These non-surgical procedures which attempt to completely cleanse the tooth’s support structures, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and early to moderate periodontal disease.

Reasons for scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planing can be used both as a preventative measure and as a stand-alone treatment. These procedures are performed as a preventative measure for a periodontitis sufferer.

Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:

  • Disease prevention – The oral bacteria which cause periodontal infections can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Research has shown that lung infections and heart disease have been linked to periodontal bacteria. Scaling and root planing removes bacteria and halts periodontal disease from progressing, thus preventing the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.

  • Tooth protection – When gum pockets exceed 3mm in-depth, there is a greater risk of periodontal disease. As pockets deepen, they tend to house more colonies of dangerous bacteria. Eventually, a chronic inflammatory response by the body begins to destroy gingival and bone tissue which may lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the developed world.

  • Aesthetic effects – Scaling and root planing help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline. As an added bonus, if superficial stains are present on the teeth, they will be removed in the process of the scaling and root planing procedure.

  • Better breath – One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is halitosis (bad breath). Food particles and bacteria can cause a persistent bad odor in the oral cavity which is alleviated with cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing.

What do scaling and root planing treatments involve?

Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth. Dr. Klonsky will take X-rays, conduct visual and probing examinations, and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures.

Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of the periodontitis, local anesthetic may be used.

Scaling – The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces. 

Root Planing – Cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar is removed. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.

During the next appointment, Dr. Klonsky will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed. If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended.

Dr. Klonsky has been treating periodontal disease for over 30 years. If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing or periodontal disease, you can reach us at (212)726-0917 or at


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