Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing—also called "deep cleaning"—is a procedure performed by a hygienist. The use of an ultrasonic scaler and various hand instruments allows the hygienist to clean plaque and bacteria that are deep under the gums on the neck of the tooth.
Have you already had your deep cleaning performed? For post-op instructions, click on the following link: Periodontal Root Planning Instructions.doc.
Scaling and Root Planing Vs. Prophy
Many patients ask, "What is the difference between a deep cleaning and a regular cleaning"? A deep cleaning is when the hygienist cleans 4mm or more under the gums. This process can be uncomfortable without the use of a local anesthetic. For this reason, patients that will need a deep cleaning can expect to be numbed. A regular cleaning (also called a "prophy") is when the hygienist cleans above the gums. Special instruments are used to clean tartar and plaque from the surface of teeth, between teeth and around the gum line.
Before your hygienist can determine what type of cleaning you need, she must perform a gum exam. During your gum examination, a probe instrument is used to measure how deep your gum pockets are.