Deep Cleaning, Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing

Deep cleanings are also referred to as scaling and root planing. They are performed to remove plaque and tartar buildup from under the gumline. By removing this harmful buildup, the supporting tissue and bone of your tooth are restored to health. Additionally, we may prescribe antibiotics and antimicrobial mouthwashes to treat advanced stages of periodontal disease.

How Does Periodontal Disease Begin?

If you have gingivitis, then your gums may feel tender or swollen and may bleed when you brush them daily. While you may not notice any pain at first, over time, the gums will pull away from the teeth due to plaque buildup below the gum line. This can cause pockets to form between the teeth and gums, where bacteria can hide and grow. This can lead to periodontitis if left untreated.

There are two stages to gum disease. The first stage, known as gingivitis, can be treated with more frequent brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque from the surface of the teeth. However, if the condition goes untreated for too long, then it can spread to the periodontal ligament and bone support around the roots of the teeth. 

At this point, the dentist may recommend deep cleanings to remove the bacteria and tartar that spread below the gum line. If too much damage is done, then you may need bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins to help regenerate the bone and the surrounding tissues.

Getting Ready for Your Procedure

The dentist may recommend a deep cleaning if you have significant plaque buildup or gum pocketing. This treatment removes bacteria and deposits that brushing and flossing can’t reach. Scaling and root planing help prevent tooth loss by getting rid of these harmful deposits on the teeth and gums. These bacteria can cause inflammation and infections in the mouth that can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. 

Once the dentist determines that you are a candidate for this procedure, they will schedule your appointment as soon as possible. They will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for this appointment so that you can be as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

The dentist will first numb the area where the procedure is to be performed. This can be done with a local anesthetic to numb the mouth and a sedative to help you relax throughout the procedure. If the dentist performs the procedure under IV sedation, you will also receive medication through an IV to relax and calm you.

During the scaling part of the procedure, our dentist will use special dental instruments to scrape away tartar from the surface of the tooth. Next, we will clean underneath the gums to remove any infected material from the area. Finally, the roots are smoothed out to prevent future infection.

Deep Cleaning Aftercare

After the procedure is over, you will need to recover at home for at least one day. It is normal to experience mild pain after the treatment, but this can be managed by taking pain medication as prescribed by our dentist. You will also be given a mouthwash to use that will help protect your teeth and gums while your gums heal. Some patients will also need to see their dentist for follow-up care to ensure that their gums are healing properly after the procedure.

For more information, contact our Alexandria dental office at (703) 823-2848 or 5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304, or our Manassas dental office at (703) 479-7654 or 8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110.


5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304

Phone: (703) 823-2848

  • MON - WED9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • THU9:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • FRI9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SAT7:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • SUNClosed
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8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110

Phone: (703) 479-7654

  • MON9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • TUE10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • WED - FRI9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • SAT7:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • SUNClosed
Contact Us