Scaling and Root Planing (SRP) is a meticulous cleaning of the root surfaces below the gum line to remove plaque, toxins and tartar from the root surfaces of the teeth. This procedure is more intensive than a routine general dental prophylaxis, or cleaning, which traditionally occurs every sixth months.
For comfort, your periodontist or dental hygienist may numb the area prior to treatment. Research has consistently demonstrated that SRP reduces gingival inflammation and probing depths, and shifts the bacterial composition living in these pockets from one that is associated with health. Therefore, SRP is usually the first mode of treatment recommended for most periodontal patients.
In some cases, systemic antibiotics (usually antibiotic pills) are prescribed at the time of SRP procedures. Antibiotics are drugs that fight infections caused by the bacteria. Each time you take an antibiotic you increase your chance of developing drug resistant bacteria, so it is important to take antibiotics only when necessary.
It is important to remember that some patients may not respond optimally to SRP, with or without antibiotics. These patients often respond favourably to advanced periodontal procedures that may include measures aimed at regenerating the natural anatomy that was lost to disease.