Scaling and root planing with and without periodontal flap surgery

J Clin Periodontol. 1986 Mar;13(3):205-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051x.1986.tb01461.x.


Complete removal of calculus is a primary part of achieving a "biologically acceptable" tooth surface in the treatment of periodontitis. Rabbani et al. reported that a single episode of scaling did not completely remove subgingival calculus and that the deeper the periodontal pocket, the less complete the calculus removal. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of scaling relative to calculus removal following reflection of a periodontal flap. Each of 21 patients who required multiple extractions had 2 teeth scaled, 2 teeth scaled following the reflection of a periodontal flap, and 2 teeth serve as controls. Local anesthesia was used. Following extraction, the % of subgingival tooth surfaces free of calculus was determined using the method described by Rabbani with a stereomicroscope. Results showed that while scaling only (SO) and scaling with a flap (SF) increased the % of root surface without calculus, scaling following the reflection of a flap aided calculus removal in pockets 4mm and deeper. Comparison of SO versus SF at various pocket depths for % of tooth surfaces completely free of calculus showed 1 to 3 mm pockets to be 86% versus 86%, 4 to 6 mm pockets to be 43% versus 76% and greater than 6 mm pockets to be 32% versus 50%. The extent of residual calculus was directly related to pocket depth, was greater following scaling only, and was greatest at the CEJ or in association with grooves, fossae or furcations. No differences were noted between anterior and posterior teeth or between different tooth surfaces.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dental Calculus / pathology
  • Dental Calculus / therapy*
  • Dental Prophylaxis*
  • Dental Scaling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodontal Pocket / pathology
  • Periodontitis / pathology
  • Periodontitis / surgery*
  • Periodontitis / therapy
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Tooth Root / surgery*