General vs specific. Root scaling is a process whereby built up plaque is scraped of with a fine tool from the enamel of the tooth, generally by a dental hygienist, or dentist. Debridement is a general term for surgically cleaning of a any wound, any place in the body at all levels of skin. For example, there are 4 stages of pressure sores: stage i-4, depending on the depth (3 goes to mm, 4 to bone). Deep ones-debride.
Terms. Sometimes scaling and root planing is called "root debridement therapy." however, there is also a procedure called "full mouth debridement" which is done at an initial hygiene appointment before a periodontal examination when the patient has so much tartar and plaque built up on their teeth that it needs to be removed so that a thorough exam can be done.