Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure to thoroughly clean the crowns of the teeth that are seen above the gum line as well as the root surface below the gum line.
This is a much more intensive treatment than a routine cleaning (or prophy) with which you may be familiar. Often, this treatment is accomplished under local anesthesia (numbing of the teeth and gum tissue) and may take more than one appointment. Depending on your particular diagnosis, systemic antibiotics may be prescribed to ensure elimination of the bacteria and their harmful toxins.
Scaling and root planing is generally the first choice of treatment for patients with moderate, and sometimes deep, pocket depths. Not only does scaling and root planing help in reducing pocket depths and inflammation, but it also facilitates oral hygiene procedures.