Dakota Regional Periodontics’ Dental FAQ: When Should You Consider Scaling And Root Planing?

What is scaling and root planing? Scaling and root planing (SRP) is a dental procedure to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth. It’s typically done after other methods of cleaning teeth, such as brushing or flossing, have not been effective. The periodontist in Rapid City scrapes your teeth with a scaler to remove tartar and plaque. 

They will also use what are called “periodontal” instruments to clean below the gum line where your tooth meets the jawbone. Some people may need this procedure every six months, while others may only need it once per year, depending on their oral health habits. 

When should you recommend scaling and root planing? 

Scaling and root planing should be considered when a patient has a lot of tartar build-up that needs to be removed. It can also be recommended if a patient has deep pockets that could lead to gum disease. These two periodontal disease treatment options are preventative measures. Scaling and root planing is the process of removing the tartar and plaque from above and below the gumline. 

Scaling removes the tartar build-up while root planing smooths out rough spots, preventing further problems. If a patient has increased risk factors for gum disease, you may want to consider scaling and root planing. In addition, patients with diabetes, smoking, poor nutrition, or antibiotic regimens are also more likely to get serious forms of gum disease. 

What can you expect during a scaling and root planing? 

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to these procedures. First, your periodontist in Rapid City will numb your gums before working on them with the scaler and polisher. Then, this tool is used to scrape off all build-up above and below the gumline. If there is not enough space to use the scaler, then they may use forceps instead. 

After this process, your teeth will feel more sensitive, but that should only last for a couple of days until you get your temporary filling or sealant in place. Afterward, some patients experience minor bleeding while others don’t notice any at all. 

These periodontal disease treatment methods do require local anesthesia. After your scaling and root planing procedure, your periodontist in Rapid City may place a temporary filling or

sealant before going on to the next steps of the teeth cleaning in Rapid City process if needed. However, some patients have been known to need re-treatment after years of chronic gum disease. In those cases, their teeth would require reconstruction from a bone loss that occurred due to the infection. 

What are the criteria for scaling and root planing? 

This is a periodontal disease treatment for deep teeth cleaning in Rapid City and preparation of the root surfaces. There are different reasons as to when scaling and root planing is done: if your gum health is not good, if you’re having discomfort in your mouth, or if you’ve had recurrent dental problems. 

What risks are involved? 

There is always the risk of developing an infection. If you try to minimize this risk, avoid smoking and eating certain foods before having your scaling and root planing treatment done. A good oral health routine will also help decrease the risk of infections. 

There’s also a small chance that there may be some discomfort after receiving treatment; however, most patients say that it wasn’t painful at all. Usually, there won’t be any long-term side effects with scaling and root planing. 

How is the procedure done? 

The simplest periodontal disease treatment entails getting numbing agents injected into your gums (most often called local anesthesia). In other cases, you may need sedation or general anesthesia. In any case, the treatment is done without you having to feel anything because your gums will be numb, and your teeth may be a bit tender after the procedure. 

How long does the periodontal disease treatment take? 

The entire process usually takes around half an hour to 45 minutes per quadrant of your mouth. The numbing agent should start working within a few minutes, so if there are four quadrants in total, it may take you about 2 hours or less for this entire process. You can go back to work after a couple of hours as you wait for the numbing agents to wear off. 


Scaling and root planing are two dental procedures that help to prevent tooth decay. These treatments can be done in one appointment or as separate appointments depending on the severity of your condition. If you would like more information about these procedures, please call us at (605) 348-2556 to book an appointment with the best periodontist in Rapid City.