Scaling & Root Planing

We remove the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove the bacteria that contribute to the disease.

Medications

Medications may be used with treatment that includes scaling and root planing, but they cannot always take the place of surgery. Depending upon the severity of gum disease, we may still suggest surgical treatment. Long-term studies will be needed to determine whether using medications will reduce the need for surgery and whether they will be effective over a long period of time. Here are some medications that are currently used:

MedicationWhat is it?Why is it used?How is it used?
Prescription antimicrobial mouth rinseA prescription mouthrinse containing an antimicrobial agent called chlorhexidineTo control bacteria when treating gingivitis and after gum surgeryUsed like a regular mouthwash
Antiseptic “chip”A tiny piece of gelatin filled with the medicine chlorhexidineTo control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pocketsAfter root planing, it’s placed in the pockets where the medicine is slowly released over time.
Antibiotic gelA gel that contains the antibiotic doxycyclineTo control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pocketsPlaced in the pockets after scaling and root planing, the antibiotic is released slowly over a period of about seven days.
Antibiotic micro-spheresTiny, round particles that contain the antibiotic minocyclineTo control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pocketsMicro-spheres placed into the pockets after scaling and root planing, the particles release minocycline slowly over time.
Enzyme suppressantA low dose of the medication doxycycline that keeps destructive enzymes in checkTo hold back the body’s enzyme response — If not controlled, certain enzymes can break down gum tissueMicro-spheres placed into the pockets after scaling and root planing, the particles release minocycline slowly over time.