Scale and Root Planing Risks

Edgerton & Glenn provide a Variety of Preventative, Restorative, and Cosmetic Dental Services to Wilmington, NC Residents. Call To Schedule Your Consultation Today.

One of the most prominent risks of root planning and scaling is not having it completed when it is needed based on the presence of periodontal disease. The first phase of treatment often presents the most substantial improvements in the overall health of the periodontium. The periodontium includes the tissues which support the teeth, the tissues which connect the teeth to the bone and the tooth’s bone.

Some of the most prevalent risks of root planning and scaling include the following:

  • Reaction to a medication or local anesthesia
  • Post-operative bleeding
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Infection
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature
  • Visible changes in the appearance of teeth from gum recession
  • Visible margins of crown
  • Root surface exposure from recession
  • Pain in the teeth and roots
  • Changes required in oral hygiene to thoroughly remove food and plaque between the teeth; a result of increased triangle of space between the teeth
  • Tooth mobility or loss

While there can be risks associated with root planing and scaling, it is imperative to keep the teeth and gums healthy.

Root planing and scaling is one of the most effective methods used to treat gum disease and prevent it from becoming severe. Root planing and scaling is a procedure used to clean between the gums and the teeth all the way down to the roots. The dentist may choose to use a local anesthetic and numb the gums and roots of your teeth before the procedure.

Some dentists and dental hygienists use an ultrasonic instrument for the planing and scaling process. This tool is more comfortable than a standard scraping tool, however, not all dental professionals use this type of tool.

The dentist may also administer an antibiotic fibers into the pockets between the teeth and gums. The antibiotic aids in expediting the healing process and preventing future infection. The dentist usually removes the fibers after about a week.

If a local anesthetic is used, your lips and gums may be numb for a few hours after the procedure. Planing and scaling typically does not cause noticeable discomfort.

Root planing and scaling is performed when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth or when the roots of the teeth have hard mineral deposits or tartar present.

For patients who practice good oral hygiene following the procedure, there is a high success rate and the gum disease should not progress. Good oral hygiene at home will also allow your gums to fully heal and return to their firm, pink appearance.


Root planing and scaling can allow harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The tissue of the gums can also be at risk for infection. Your dentist may ask you to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition places you at high risk for a severe infection or if an infection could be dangerous. Patients may need to take antibiotics if any of the following scenarios apply:

  • Heart issues which make it dangerous to get a heart infection called endocarditis
  • A compromised immune system
  • Recent major surgeries or man-made body parts, including artificial joints or heart valves

Root planing and scaling is a relatively simple procedure which is successful in stopping gum disease.

Brush twice a day and floss regularly following the procedure. If proper dental hygiene is not followed, the gum disease may return or progress. To help promote healing of the gums, avoid using any tobacco products. Tobacco reduces the ability for your body to fight infection and can delay the healing process.

More on Scale & Root Planing : Deep Teeth Cleaning Aftercare