Dr. Kathleen Mullaney • DDS • FAGD

COVID 19 Protocol - Team Mullaney is fully vaccinated

Why do I need scaling and root planing?

Why do I need scaling and root planing?

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while or if you have difficulty sticking to a regular brushing and flossing routine, Dr. Mullaney might recommend root scaling and root planing. While it might sound scary, scaling and root planing is simply a deep cleaning below the gum line to help treat gum disease.

Why Do I Need Root Planing?


Gum disease affects more than half of the adult U.S. population. In fact, it’s estimated that chronic gum disease affects a whopping 47% of American adults over the age of 30.

Gum disease is an infection in your gums. Some factors that contribute to gum disease are smoking, poor home hygiene, missed professional cleanings, pregnancy, mouth-breathing, alcohol abuse, stress, and crooked or overlapping teeth that are difficult to clean. Some medications contribute to gum disease because they slow saliva production which allows oral bacteria to flourish.

Bacteria in plaque can build up on your teeth, and if not cleaned properly, can cause swelling of the gums which allows more plaque and bacteria to seep below the gum line. Once this happens, the gums pull away from the teeth creating periodontal pockets. At this point, only a professional using special instruments can remove the plaque. If untreated, gum disease could lead to bone and tooth loss.

If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, however, scaling and root planing may be needed.

The Procedure

Scaling and root planing is usually completed with a local anesthetic. After you have been sufficiently numbed, your hygienist  will remove the built-up plaque below the gum line. Hand instruments or an ultrasonic scaler may be used to clean your mouth.

After all the hardened plaque is removed, we may rinse your periodontal pockets with an anti-bacterial solution or sterilize them with a laser to kill any bacteria hiding below the reach of the hygienist’s instruments.

Recovery, Homecare, and Maintenance

After each visit, you can expect to have a little sensitivity or soreness in the treated areas, which might last for a day or two.

After all of the affected areas have been scaled and root planed, you will  be placed on a shorter hygiene schedule, referred to as periodontal maintenance, usually every 3-4 months. At each visit, your hygienist will check to make sure your periodontal pockets are not getting any larger.

The best way to prevent gum disease is to have regular professional cleanings, brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush or our favorite, a Sonicare and floss twice a day.

Once gum disease passes a certain point, it becomes a chronic condition that never goes away. Proper at-home care, a healthy diet, avoiding all tobacco products, and seeing your hygienist at least twice a year are all simple ways you can help prevent gum disease from affecting your health.

Deal of the Day

* Includes necessary X-rays, Velscope Oral Cancer Screening and periodontal examination
(New Patients Only, excludes cleaning. Not billable to insurance)

Trusted in the Community

Had my first visit to Dr. Mullaney’s office this month since the pandemic and the experience was gold standard. The safety processes and clean office environment were impeccable. Dr. Mullaney and staff were, as usual, amazing. Every step was explained, the protective garments worn by staff were the best I have experienced. It was a safe and positive visit and I recommend making an appointment!!

I am a new patient. After my first dentist appointment with Dr. Mullaney, I left feeling very informed and in control of ultimately making decisions about the care and treatment I receive. The staff is incredibly kind and knowledgeable. I love that they participate in helping veterans through The Freedom Day USA program. They are committed to providing a very clean and friendly atmosphere. In addition this practice goes out of its way to bring comfort and the latest in dentistry to all their patients.

I never thought that a person could enjoy going to the dentist until I started seeing Dr. Mullaney. Her attractive and serene office and Dr. Mullaney and her competent and friendly staff make every visit a pleasure. They have a gift for making each experience smooth and efficient, with meticulous attention to the patient’s needs and comfort. On a scale of 1 to 10 this practice is a 15!

Dr. Mullaney and her staff are absolutely wonderful. They are very professional, personable and greet you by name when you walk in the door. Dr. Mullaney is very talented and really has perfected her craft. Even with a last-minute treatment change, she is unwavering in performing the highest quality treatment available. I am extremely grateful to you all for making my visit pleasant and even fun!