Upon the dentist’s evaluation of the gums, it may be determined that the patient needs more than a regular cleaning. There are pockets between the teeth and gums. If those pockets are bigger than 3mm the patient has the start of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is bone loss around the teeth. In advanced cases patients may loose their teeth. Scaling and root planing is the first non-surgical step to minimizing periodontal disease. It is completed in two appointments. The hygienist will numb one side of the patient’s mouth during each appointment. This allows the hygienist to get the instruments to the base of the pocket where all the bacteria causing the bone loss are located. This makes it much more comfortable for the patient and easier for the hygienist. These appointments are typically longer than a regular cleaning. After the scaling and root planing the patient is expected to come back for reevaluation and a regular cleaning in three months.