A professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that may have built up and hardened into tartar. By scheduling regular checkups — maybe twice a year — early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition.
If gum disease is more advanced, scaling and root planning can be performed to treat diseased periodontal pockets and gum infection. A dental hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaling device to remove plaque, tartar and food debris above and below the gum line, and hand scales the tooth and root surfaces to make them smooth and disease free. Laser treatments are also sometimes used to remove tartar deposits. If periodontal pockets are more than 5 millimeters deep, that is, if you have moderate to severe periodontitis, gingival flap surgery may be performed by a periodontist to reduce periodontal pockets, as well as bone grafting to restore the lost bone.