How Much Does a Scaling and Root Planing Cost?

Written by: Staff

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Scaling, also known as conventional periodontal therapy, is the process where plaque and tartar is removed deep inside the gum pockets, treating and preventing gum disease.  Scaling and root planning is a non-surgical procedure used to treat periodontal disease and will be recommended as a way to treat periodontitis from getting worse.

February 6, 2014 by osseous, on Flickr
February 6, 2014” (CC BY 2.0) by osseous

How much does scaling and root planing cost?

Dentist offices are going to charge per quad, which is one of the four parts of your mouth.  On average, expect to pay anywhere from $70 to $225 per quad.  For a complete scaling and root planing, it can cost upwards of $800 by the time you factor in the cleanings, x-rays, visit fee and procedure.  The cost will depend on the dentist, the complexity of the job, the technique being used, if insurance is involved and where you live.

For instance, someone on Indeed asked if $125 per quadrant was a fair price to pay, and most members of the forum agreed it was a fair price to pay.

According to, a scaling and root planing can cost between $140 and $210, and active periodontal therapy, which is a locally administered antimicrobial agent delivered into the gum lines can cost up to $75 per tooth.

Scaling and root planing overview

Scaling will usually require more than one session, and according to Colgate, the session is compared to removing a splinter from a finger.  During the procedure, a local anesthetic will be used to minimize any discomfort and the procedure will involve thoroughly scaling all plaque, tartar deposits and bacterial toxins from the teeth and root surfaces.  The dentist or dental hygienist will either use a manual hand instrument, ultrasonic instrument or a combination of both.

Before the scaling begins, he or she will visually inspect the mouth for any possible periodontal problems, and next, he or she will use their tools to eliminate the plaque underneath the gumlines with the sonic vibrations if using an ultrasonic instrument or they will manually remove (scale) the plaque from the teeth.  Scaling will only be performed when the sulcus depth is 3 mm or greater.

The process can take about one hour per quadrant.

The average patient, depending on the circumstances, may need up to four visits to see desirable results.

After the scaling, the root planning procedure will surface the roots’ surface, preventing the bacteria, tartar and plaque from re-adhering underneath the gumline.

What are the extra costs?

A follow-up will be necessary to check your gums to make sure they are healing properly.  As long as the gums become firm and pink again, further treatment won’t be required; however, if the inflammation is bad, the dentist may recommend that you come back again for another scaling procedure if the first session didn’t improve the results.  At an extreme, periodontal/gum surgery may be required if the results don’t improve.

If not included with the overall cost, the dentist may charge an additional price for the x-rays and dentist office fee.

Since scaling teeth can cause some pain after the procedure has been done, painkillers and/or prescribed medication may be necessary.

Tips to know

If your teeth feel sensitive before and/or after the procedure, then it may be recommended you use a desensitizing paste to provide relief.

Potential risks include bleeding and infection.

How can I save money?

Many dentist offices will have some sort of financing available for those who cannot afford this service.  Check with the office to see what they can do for you.  If you don’t have insurance, consider looking for discounted dental plans on websites such as  These plans work with thousands of dentist offices and can save you as much as 70% off your bill.

Ask if you can break up the procedures in sections.  If this is possible, you can have your procedure spread out over the weeks to make it easier for you financially.

Getting your teeth scaled is already going to save yourself money in the long run as this is going to help prevent gum disease, as well as help prevent other diseases from growing throughout the mouth.

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Average Reported Cost: $1239

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How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. American dental solutions (West Lawn,  Pennsylvania) paid $1239 and said:

    American dental solutions of Wyomissing.

    Flouridex 17.00
    Iteroral exam 74.00
    Perio eval 48
    Scale&root 4+ per quad x 4 125.00
    Local delivery of anti microbial agents 70.00 x 8
    Topical application of fluoride 20.00

    Was it worth it? Yes

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