Even people who are taking scrupulous care of their teeth may have some problems that go beyond simple cleaning. For those people, gingivitis can develop and may lead to potential tooth loss and deterioration of the gums. Cleaning will not take care of this problem, unfortunately. For these cases, either scaling or root planing will be needed.
Scaling is a process that is used to remove plaque and tartar build up in the early stages of gingivitis. If the scaling is not done in this early stage, gingivitis will progress and may lead to the need for root planing instead.
Planing is used to smooth the surface of the roots as well as to remove any infected structures of the teeth. Planing is typically more painful than scaling. Depending on the severity of the gingivitis, you may need local anesthesia and some minor pain control. If the areas that are affected are extensive, the process will be done in segments so that the time spent under anesthesia will be minimized. This also allows for better and more effective healing.