Periodontal disease is an infection caused by the accumulation of the bacteria in plaque and tartar on teeth and gums. Results of this infection include pain, gum damage, bone loss, and even tooth loss.
Periodontal probing, performed by your dentist or hygienist, helps measure how advanced your disease is. During probing, a tool (probe) measures the depth of space (pocket) between the tooth and the surrounding gum. The deeper the pocket, the more severe the problem.
When periodontal disease is detected, a procedure called "scaling and root planing" is performed to remove plaque and tartar from below your gum line.
This controls the growth of harmful bacteria. It also helps gums reattach firmly to the teeth. Because this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning, your mouth will most likely be anesthetized. This procedure may take 1 to 4 or more visits to complete.