Scaling and Root Planing in South Jordan and Salt Lake City

At Utah Periodontal Specialists, we take pride in offering comprehensive and specialized dental care at two convenient locations: South Jordan and Salt Lake City. We specialize in scaling and root planing treatments, essential procedures for addressing gum disease and maintaining healthy gums.

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing, often referred to as deep cleaning, is a fundamental periodontal therapy aimed at treating gum disease. This non-surgical procedure is performed to address the buildup of plaque and tartar below the gumline.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums and bone. It begins with the formation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on the teeth. Over time, if not effectively removed through regular brushing and flossing, plaque can harden into tartar. This can be challenging to remove and can lead to inflammation of the gums.

Scaling and Root Planing
  • Scaling: During the scaling phase, the dental professional uses specialized instruments to carefully remove the accumulated plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces, both above and below the gumline. This thorough cleaning helps eliminate the bacterial deposits that contribute to gum inflammation and infection.
  • Root Planing: After scaling, the next step is root planing. This process involves smoothing the rough surfaces of the tooth roots. Smoothing the roots helps prevent bacteria from adhering to these surfaces, allowing the gums to reattach more firmly to the teeth. Root planing also helps in reducing pocket depths, which are the spaces that form between the gums and teeth due to gum disease.

When is Scaling and Root Planing Treatment Needed?

Scaling and root planing treatments are needed when gum disease, characterized by inflammation, bleeding, and potential gum recession, is present. These procedures become necessary to remove plaque and tartar buildup, eliminating bacterial infection and preventing further damage to the supporting structures of the teeth.

Scaling and Root Planing Explanation

Types of Scaling and Root Planing

There are two main types of scaling and root planing treatments that dental professionals may recommend based on the severity of gum disease:

  1. Full Mouth Debridement: This type of treatment is often performed when there is a significant amount of plaque and tartar buildup, making it challenging to conduct a comprehensive oral examination. The initial step involves removing the large deposits of plaque and tartar to uncover the underlying oral health issues. Following this, a thorough assessment can be carried out, and further treatment, such as additional scaling and root planing or other interventions, can be planned.
  1. Quadrant Scaling and Root Planing: When gum disease is more localized, dental professionals may opt for quadrant scaling and root planing. The mouth is divided into four sections, or quadrants, and each quadrant is treated during a separate appointment. This approach allows for more focused and thorough treatment, reducing the duration of each session and promoting patient comfort.

What Can Happen if Untreated

If gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to various oral health complications and potentially impact your overall well-being. Here are some potential consequences of untreated gum disease:

  • Gingivitis Progression: Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can escalate into more severe forms of periodontal disease if not treated. Gingivitis causes gum inflammation, bleeding, and tenderness. Left untreated, it can evolve into periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease.
  • Periodontitis: This stage involves deeper inflammation and infection of the gums, leading to the formation of pockets between the teeth and gums. Over time, this can result in bone loss, tooth mobility, and even tooth loss.
  • Tooth Loss: The destruction of the bone and connective tissues that support the teeth can eventually lead to tooth loss. Once teeth are lost, it can impact your ability to chew and speak properly, as well as affect your appearance and self-confidence.
  • Systemic Health Concerns: Research suggests a potential link between gum disease and other systemic health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and complications during pregnancy. While the exact nature of these connections is still being studied, it highlights the importance of maintaining good gum health.
  • Chronic Inflammation: Untreated gum disease contributes to ongoing inflammation in the body, which can strain the immune system and potentially exacerbate other health conditions.

Is it Painful?

These procedures are typically well-tolerated by most patients and are designed to be as comfortable as possible. The level of discomfort can vary depending on factors such as the severity of gum disease, individual pain tolerance, and the use of local anesthesia during the procedure. Local anesthesia is often administered to numb the treatment area and minimize any potential discomfort. This ensures that the patient is comfortable throughout the process. While you might feel some pressure or vibrations as the dental instruments are used to remove plaque and tartar, the goal is to keep any sensations of pain to a minimum.

How Long Does it Take?

On average, a single session of scaling and root planing for a specific section of the mouth may take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. However, this estimate can be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the case. Dental professionals prioritize thoroughness and patient comfort during each session.

Is it Covered by Insurance?

Scaling and root planing treatments are often covered by dental insurance, especially when they are deemed necessary for treating gum disease and maintaining oral health. However, coverage specifics can vary widely depending on the insurance plan and the severity of the condition. Many dental insurance plans categorize scaling and root planing as a periodontal or gum disease treatment and may cover a portion of the costs. It’s important to note that dental insurance plans typically have coverage limits, co-payments, and deductibles that can impact the amount reimbursed for these treatments. Some plans might cover a certain percentage of the cost, while others may have a specific number of visits or a dollar amount allocated to periodontal procedures.

Before undergoing scaling and root planing, it’s advisable to contact your dental insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage and any potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Before and After Scaling and Root Planing in Salt Lake City UT

What to Expect After Treatment?

Scaling and root planing is typically performed over multiple visits, focusing on specific sections of the mouth during each session. Depending on the severity of gum disease, local anesthesia may be used to ensure patient comfort during the procedure. Following the treatment, patients might experience some mild discomfort or sensitivity, which can be managed with proper care and any prescribed medications.

How to Prevent Gum Disease Going Forward

Below are some key strategies to help prevent gum disease down the road:

  1. Regular Oral Hygiene:
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to clean between teeth and below the gumline.
  • Consider using an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash.
  1. Healthy Diet:
  • Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy.
  • Limit sugary and acidic foods and beverages, which can contribute to plaque formation.
  1. Smoking and Tobacco Cessation:
  • Quit smoking and avoid all forms of tobacco use, as they increase the risk of gum disease.
  1. Regular Dental Visits:
  • Schedule professional dental cleanings and check-ups every six months or as recommended by your dentist.
  1. Medical Conditions:
  • Manage underlying health conditions like diabetes, which can impact gum health.
  1. Medications:
  • Inform your dentist about any medications you’re taking, as some can affect gum health.

Why Choose Us For Scaling and Root Planing Treatment?

With specialized knowledge and a patient-centered approach, our skilled team ensures gentle and effective treatments, promoting healthy gums and preserving your smile. At Utah Periodontal Specialists, you’ll receive personalized care in a state-of-the-art environment, dedicated to your oral well-being.

Planing Treatment


Daily brushing and flossing removes plaque from teeth and gums and helps reduce tartar deposits.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease affects more than 80% of Americans by the age of 45. Certain factors contribute to its progression.


Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination.