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What is the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling?

What is the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling? For most of us, it has happened to want to use dental scaling services, but the question has always been there, does scaling damage the teeth? How many times is criminalization allowed per year? Is there a difference between gum and tooth scaling? Which ones are harmful? All these questions show people’s concern about these services. In the article on the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling, we will answer the reason for the necessity of performing these dental services and other related questions. Stay with us:

What is the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling?

Tooth scaling and root planing, or gum scaling, is a non-surgical restorative method that helps prevent further progress or damage caused by periodontal disease. During the treatment, the dentist will scale your teeth, which includes removing plaque and tartar above and below the gum line and cleaning the pockets between the teeth. Root planing, on the other hand, involves cleaning and smoothing uneven areas on the root of the tooth to improve gum tissue healing and reattachment.

Why do teeth get tartar?

Plaque is a yellowish and sometimes gray soft substance that adheres to the surfaces of teeth, including permanent and mobile teeth. Plaques are organized biofilms composed mainly of bacteria in a matrix of extracellular glycoproteins and polysaccharides. This matrix makes it impossible to remove the plaque by washing or using a spray. Alba material is similar to plaque but lacks the organized structure of plaque and is therefore easily removed by washing and spraying.

All people suffer from plaque and alba substances. Through regular brushing and flossing, these organized colonies of bacteria are disrupted and removed from the oral cavity. In general, the more effective brushing, flossing, and other oral care practices are, the less plaque builds up on the teeth. However, if the biofilm is left undisturbed by brushing or flossing after 24 hours in the oral environment, it begins to absorb the mineral content of saliva. Through this absorption, a hard material called calculus is formed, commonly known as “tartar”, which ultimately provides a base for new layers of plaque biofilm to be placed on top of and build up over time. Plaques are harder than bone and cannot be removed by brushing or flossing.

So far, we have provided information about the cause of dental calculus and plaque, but about the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling, you should know the definition of each to finally understand their difference:

Everything you need to know about dental scaling

Scaling is a common procedure that helps patients with excessive plaque build-up and gum disease. Note that brushing is a standard cleaning on the outside of the teeth, but scaling is a process that goes much deeper. If the dentist has recommended tooth scaling along with gum scaling, knowing these two methods will help you prepare for them.

The difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling is in their purpose; Scaling is a type of tooth cleaning that can easily reach below the gum line and remove excessive plaque buildup. The complete process of teeth scaling along with gum scaling is commonly known as deep cleaning. This treatment goes far beyond the general cleaning you usually get during your regular checkup or annual visit.

How is dental scaling done?

Dental scaling includes the careful removal of plaque on the surface of the teeth as well as in the pockets below the gum line. Your dentist may or may not use a local anesthetic to reduce discomfort, depending on the severity of your condition. There are two ways your dentist can remove plaque:

Your dentist can scrape away the plaque with a hand tool called a curettage. The dentist places this small tool under the gum lines to carefully remove plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach.

There is another tool called ultrasonic that the dentist may also use to scale the teeth. This tool has a vibrating metal tip with a cool water spray to remove plaque.

Why is dental scaling necessary?

We all encounter plaque formation at some point in our lives. Proteins and bacteria, along with the saliva in your mouth, can form a thin layer that covers your teeth almost all the time. Whenever you eat something, sugars, acids, and tiny food particles can stick to this thin layer and cause a build-up on your teeth called plaque. Also, bacteria in plaque are the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing, flossing, and standard dental cleanings can help get rid of plaque build-up and prevent serious problems. However, if your gums are healthy, the strong tissue around the tooth will fight and remove plaque. But if gum disease starts to develop, the tissue becomes loose.

Healthy gums are attached to the teeth about 1 to 3 mm below the gum line. Gum disease causes much deeper cavities that can easily fill up with plaque and make your problems worse. It also causes various other symptoms such as bad breath to become more visible. If your pockets are 4mm or deeper, your dentist may recommend scaling to remove plaque below the gum line and treat the disease.

What does tooth scaling feel like?

For many people, scaling can be an uncomfortable experience, especially if the gums are very sensitive. As a result, the dentist may provide a local anesthetic that can help numb the gum tissue. You can also talk to your dentist about different options he can use to desensitize the area to minimize pain and any discomfort during the process.

How long does tooth scaling take?

Scaling is a complex process and may be done several times, as each session addresses a different part of the mouth. Some dentists may divide the mouth into four different quadrants, while others may do so by splitting it in half. You can also talk to your dentist about whether your scaling appointment can be scheduled in one visit.

What is root planing?

As mentioned, what is the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling? The purpose of performing these two methods, scaling and root planing, is a deep cleaning of gum tissue. It is a common non-surgical treatment for gum disease that removes plaque or buildup (hard and calcified plaque) above and below the gum line and can also help prevent the progression of gum disease (periodontal disease).

Scaling simply removes built-up plaque, while root planing also smoothes the roots of the teeth. This will help the gum to reattach to the tooth and thus reduce the depth of the gum pocket.

Gum scaling process or root peeling

The dentist prescribes local anesthesia to prevent discomfort.

  • Using special dental tools, the dentist performs scaling and root planing to remove the tartar above and below your gum line.
  • After scaling and root planing, the dentist may rinse your mouth with an antibacterial solution (such as chlorhexidine).
  • Finally, the dentist may apply topical antibiotics to the periodontal pockets.

How long does gum scaling take?

The whole process of root peeling may be done in several sessions, one session for each half or quarter of your mouth. Keep in mind that numbing the entire mouth for one session can cause difficulty eating, swallowing, and speaking. Additionally, performing full mouth scaling and root planing can result in significant discomfort.

Another reason deep cleanings require multiple sessions is to ensure that all areas of gum disease are treated, including the removal of plaque and tartar. Lighter cleaning may take longer, but it won’t be as effective.

What should you expect after gum scaling?

What is the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling? It cannot include the expectations after doing them, in other words, after both scaling, your mouth will probably be sensitive and painful. A small number of patients may experience bleeding and swelling immediately after the procedure, which may last for several days. The dentist recommends special toothpaste to desensitize the gums and reduce discomfort. You may also get a mouthwash that can help keep your gums clean. It is very important to use proper brushing and flossing techniques after a scaling session, as this will prevent plaque from re-forming in the same areas.

Your dentist will give you recovery instructions. Protect your teeth and gums by:

  • Avoiding foods that require a lot of chewing
  • Avoiding very hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Use of sensitizing toothpaste
  • In the long run, you need good oral hygiene to maintain the benefits of deep cleaning.

The difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling

Scaling and root planing are two separate methods that are performed together to treat gum disease:

  • Periodontal scaling means removing tartar from teeth and gums
  • Root planing treats the root surfaces of the teeth to achieve a smooth surface, which makes plaque and tartar less likely to re-accumulate.

Benefits and risks of gum sealant

Scaling and root planing can help treat gum disease and improve oral health. It also has some potential downsides, most of which are temporary.


  • Reducing the depth of the gum pocket
  • Reducing the risk of developing advanced gum disease (for example, periodontitis)
  • Reduce the risk of tooth decay
  • Eliminate bad breath


  • In the first few days after the procedure, you may experience pain, sensitivity, and bleeding gums when brushing, which should disappear quickly.
  • Bacteria can enter your gums and bloodstream and cause infection. If you have certain medical conditions, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to prevent this.
  • Root planing may remove too much of your tooth’s root surface (cementum).

How effective is gum scaling for gum disease?

  • Scaling and root planing are effective in reducing the depth of the gingival pocket, which is an important indicator of gum disease.
  • The effectiveness of scaling and root planing depends to some extent on the quality of oral and dental hygiene after the procedure. Brushing, flossing, and maintaining a balanced diet will help prevent plaque and tartar from forming again.
  • Gum disease is also associated with systemic conditions such as diabetes, which can play a role in determining the best treatment plan. A deep cleaning may be just one part of a larger treatment plan for severe gum disease.
  • Note that advanced gum disease may require more than a deep cleaning. Therefore, surgery may be needed to restore gum health and prevent tooth loss.

It should be said that there are alternative methods for deep cleaning to avoid unnecessary damage to the tooth root. For example, ultrasonic dental scaling may be able to remove tartar below the gum line without removing a large amount of root tissue.

Therefore, it is best to talk to your dentist or periodontist about treatment options. They may prefer certain treatments over others based on their oral health needs.

Why is gum scaling and tooth scaling important?

Harmful oral bacteria form plaque, a sticky, clear layer that covers the teeth. Brushing and flossing can remove plaque, but poor diet and oral hygiene can cause plaque to remain and build up over time.

Finally, plaque hardens and turns into stone. Accumulation of dental plaque is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, it can be a good place for bacteria and other oral microbes to settle and cause infection in the teeth and gums.

Scaling and root planing remove plaque from the teeth. It also smooths the uneven surfaces of the tooth root so that the gum can reattach to the tooth. This makes oral and dental hygiene easier and prevents further damage to teeth and gums.

When should scaling and root planning be done?

When a periodontal evaluation or gum disease screening shows evidence of gum infection and early stages of bone loss in the jaw, scaling may be recommended. To diagnose periodontal disease, they measure between the teeth and gums, and X-rays are used to evaluate the amount of bone around the teeth. Although a thorough periodontal examination is required to diagnose gum disease, several signs and symptoms often indicate its presence, including:

  • Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Receding gum line
  • Teeth that seem to shift or feel loose
  • There is pus between the teeth and gums
  • Periodontal pockets with a depth of more than 3 mm
  • Radiographic evidence of peri-dental bone loss

Frequently asked questions about the difference between gum scaling and tooth scaling

How many sessions of massaging and root planning take?

Scaling and root planing are usually done in 1 to 4 visits, depending on the extent of the condition. Typically, a quarter of the mouth will be treated at each visit, allowing plaque and tartar deposits to be completely removed from below the gum line and periodontal pockets to be cleaned as effectively as possible.

What is the duration of dental scaling in each session?

The duration of the visit depends on the severity of your condition, as well as whether your dentist performs scaling of the entire mouth at one time or in parts over several sessions. Typically, if the dentist performs scaling on the entire mouth in one session, it will take 1 to 2 hours to complete.

Does dental scaling hurt?

Dental scaling can be an uncomfortable procedure. However, the dentist in Hamilton may use a local anesthetic to help reduce pain and discomfort.

How long does it take to recover from dental scaling?

Most patients feel discomfort and mild pain in the first few days after the operation. You may also have sensitivity for a week as the gums heal.


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