Scaling and Root Planing in Salisbury, MD

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If you have developed symptoms of gum (periodontal) disease, a regular cleaning might be insufficient. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is typically treated with a regular cleaning; however, when you progress to the next stage, called periodontitis, scaling and root planing (SRP) are indicated. This is a simple procedure performed by Dr. Heher to help clean areas of bone loss, by removing built-up plaque and tartar from below the gumline. Using special instrumentation, a SRP treatment at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher cleans any pocketing below the gumline, then smooths the teeth to prevent future buildup. If you are concerned about your gums, learn more about SRP at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher in Salisbury, MD.

Best Candidates

During your dental exam, Dr. Heher will assess the depth of your gum pockets. If the pockets, also known as sulci, are greater than three millimeters, a scaling and root planing treatment could be recommended. SRP can help reduce the depth of your gum pockets so plaque and bacteria cannot collect in those areas preventing bone loss. Some of the early symptoms of periodontal disease include swollen, reddened (as opposed to pink) and/or bleeding gums which may or may not have started to recede. If periodontal disease is diagnosed at the onset, one or more SRP sessions can improve symptoms. However, if gum disease has progressed to later stages (periodontitis or advanced periodontitis), then you may require more extensive surgical therapies.

What To Expect

Scaling and root planing is a deep periodontal pocket cleaning that can be carried out in our office with local anesthesia to numb the areas being treated. We may also recommend nitrous oxide sedation if you feel stressed about undergoing this procedure. Dr. Heher or the hygienist will use a scaling instrument to carefully eliminate built-up plaque and tartar in your gum pockets. They will then smooth or plane the outside of the tooth to reduce the number of areas where plaque and tartar can become trapped to prevent future buildup.


After your SRP treatment, you may temporarily experience gum and tooth sensitivity, as well as some numbness from the local anesthetic. Dr. Heher may prescribe antibiotics to help eliminate any remaining bacteria from your gums. You should adhere to a good daily oral care routine at home, including proper brushing and flossing, to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. At the minimum, semi-annual dental exams are encouraged so Dr. Heher can assess the health of your gums and teeth and to have your mouth professionally cleaned. Depending on the original condition of your gums and home care after your treatment, you may need several more SRP treatment visits to totally remove any residual tartar and plaque deposits.

Insurance Coverage

Scaling and root planing is a common procedure for the treatment of gum disease, which is generally covered in part by dental insurance. Our team can contact your carrier to help you understand your coverage and personal costs. If you do not have dental insurance, Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher accepts numerous payment methods including medical financing that can be explained during your consultation.

Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease can become painful and dangerous to your health so if you are experiencing symptoms, then please schedule an exam with Dr. Heher at his office in Salisbury, MD. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is normally treated with a simple cleaning; as the disease progresses, scaling and root planing treatment at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher is needed.  Please contact us to schedule an appointment or to get more information before problems and conditions worsen. Remember, the five most dangerous words in the English language:  “Maybe it will go away!”

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images other than before and afters photos may contain models.