First some gross stuff and then the good news: plaque and tartar provide an environment which allows bacteria to thrive and multiply. The bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. The condition becomes more noticeable when you brush your teeth or sometimes when you eat. These are signs of the early stage of gingivitis.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress to periodontitis and the roots will need a planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of the dental tartar from the tooth surface above the gum and root planing is the process of smoothening the root surfaces and removing the infected tooth structure below the gum level.
Now for the good news: gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scale and polish the teeth. A lot of times both procedures, scaling and polishing, are combined to make your teeth squeaky clean.
Scaling above the gum level is normally performed without any anesthesia and is usually painless. In certain instances, advanced stages of gingivitis where gums are very inflamed may make it necessary to take extra precautions for complete comfort. We offer many options to fit your specific gum condition.