Can periodontal scaling damage root?

Can periodontal scaling damage root?

Did your dentist tell you that you need periodontal scaling? Are you worried that periodontal scaling can spread bacteria deeper into the gum and eventually damage the nerve of your tooth? Well rest assured, this article will provide you with the facts about periodontal scaling and help you decide whether or not you should get it done.

What exactly is scaling?

Scaling and root planing is the most typical and conservative kind of treatment for gum disease. Scaling involves the removal of calculus (commonly known as tartar) and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. The method particularly targets the realm below the gum line, by the root. Plaque is usually a sticky substance, jam-packed with microorganism, especially bacteria, which forms on teeth. As plaque hardens, it becomes known as calculus.

Plaque mostly sticks to rough surfaces and for this reason, the root surface is modified to become sleek and smooth during root planing. Root planing essentially removes any additional calculus and smooth irregular areas of the root surface.

The basics of gum disease

The longer plaque and tartar remain on teeth, the more harm they cause. The presence of excessive bacterium can result in inflammation of the gums that is known as “gingivitis.” Gingivitis have certain features such as:

  • The gums become red, swollen and may slightly bleed.
  • It can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleansing in a dental clinic.
  • The procedure is usually done by a dental hygienist or dentist.
  • This kind of gum illness doesn’t result in any loss of bone or tissue that hold teeth in situ.

When gingivitis isn’t treated, it will advance to a condition known as “periodontitis.” With this disease, gums shrink back from the teeth and form areas, called “pockets,” that become infected. The body’s system fights the bacterium because the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. The microorganisms’ toxins and also the body’s natural response to infection begin to react with and destroy the bone and tissue that hold teeth in situ. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth will be completely broken down. This can result in the teeth becoming loose and being removed.

How is scaling done?

Your dentist, periodontist, or dental hygienist removes the plaque through an extensive-cleaning method using ultrasonic scalers and hand instruments. Tartar is scraped off from below and above the gum line. Root planing, on the other hand is responsible for getting rid of rough spots on the root of the tooth, in areas where the germs accumulate, and is instrumental in removing bacteria that contribute to the disease. In some cases the procedures can be done using lasers.


Periodontal scaling can leave the teeth more sensitive to heat and cold if the gum recedes too much after treatment and some of the teeth’s root become exposed. The gums may also become tender and swollen. Although rare, it is possible to introduce more bacteria below the gum line if scaling is not done properly and hence the procedure becomes counterproductive. Improper scaling can also loosen the teeth and cause some to fall out. However, although anything is possible, periodontal scaling done by professionals have not been reported to damage the root of the teeth and have been shown to remarkably fight gum disease.