Scale and Root Planing Risks

Scale and Root Planing Risks

Are there risks associated with Scale and Root planing procedures? If your gum deterioration are severe, and your tooth root is in danger, your dentist may recommend this procedure to clean up the area. Discuss any concerns you have with your dentist, and be sure to ask about risks involved in your consultation.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing are used to scrape bacteria, food, and plaque out from under your gums. After some time accumulating on your teeth, the hardened food particles and bacteria become plaque. Plaque can cause infection, find its way into your bloodstream, and cause all kinds of problems. To help combat this, your dentist may use Scaling procedures.


In scaling your dentist will use either a metal scaling tool and dental curette, or a high-tech ultrasound machine with a metal tip and water stream for flushing. With either tool, the dentist will gently penetrate the gumline and hook and material buildup from under the tooth and root. It is an uncomfortable feeling, but not very painful. You can ask for a local anesthetic to help numb the area. Communicate with your dentist if there is any sharp pain or discomfort after or during the procedure. Oftentimes the bacteria has penetrated the gumline and provided other bacteria a route to the tooth root, or caused the gums to recede from the surface of the tooth.

Root Planing

Root planing is a procedure where the bony root of the tooth is vulnerable to bacteria, so your dentist will gingerly remove material, providing a smooth surface for the gums to reattach. Sometimes the dentist will leave an antibiotic fiber in the gap between the gum, root, and tooth. This will help to hasten the recovery of infection, allowing the gums to repair more quickly. However these fibers have to be removed, so be sure to schedule that ahead of time with your dentist.

Risks of Root Planing and Scaling

Because of the direct interference of the medical instrument there is a chance that bacteria may be introduced into the bloodstream of your gums. If one of the tools knicks some tissue, and then bacteria on the tool enters the stream, it could cause infection. This can be especially concerning if you are immunocompromised or at a higher risk of infection complications. Some patients who live with diabetes or autoimmune disorders may need a regimen of antibiotics before, or after the procedure.

Speak with your dentist

The best person to consult with is your dentist. They know your dental health better than anyone. Have your routine examination and cleaning, and see what they think about scale and root planing. They may recommend it, or think it would be a strong preventative measure. They may suggest a through cleaning or an appointment with the hygienist. No matter what, ask them about cost, concerns, and risks of the procedure. They will always recommend what they think is the best for you and your dental health. Healthy patients provide healthy business for your dentist, and a clean mouth for you.

Scale and Root Planing Cost