In gum-doctor-ese, scaling and root planing means deep, as in below the gum line, cleaning. Deep cleaning gets the gunk, a.k.a. malicious bacteria, out from between your teeth and gums without any need for surgery. Getting a deep cleaning is essentially nipping gum disease in the bud. All it takes to know when a deep cleaning is necessary is to get a regular check-up every 6 months. As part of regular dental appointments, your dental professional measures the space between your teeth and gums and if there is too much space there, it's time to go in and clean out the bacteria that inevitably took up residence. Also, if you are experiencing soreness or seeing redness in your gums then you may have gingivitis and should also consult a dentist about a deep cleaning.
Early gum disease, called gingivitis, is when that gunk between our teeth and gums causes inflammation below the gum line. Gingivitis is the gateway to a myriad of other oral and general health problems that require surgery to correct including: periodontitis, gum recession and finally tooth loss. Gingivitis and other minor problems with your gums, such as minor gum recession, can be treated without surgery if they are caught before they progress into serious issues using scaling and root planing.
Half of Americans have had gingivitis and risk factors range from smoking, to hormonal changes, to a simple genetic predisposition that 30% of us have. If you do not brush and floss your teeth enough then you are also at risk. In short, if you are reading this you are more likely than not to have gingivitis at some point in your life. And if you have gingivitis we want to support you in acting on it now.