At your check up appointment, a hygienist will check a health of your gums with a special periodontal probe. It helps us determine if pockets may have formed around the teeth. Pockets deeper that 4 or 5mm may indicate the presence of bacteria that needs to be removed to protect bone structure and prevent tooth loss. For patients with periodontal pockets and chronic gum disease, we offer a "deep cleaning" (Scaling and Root Planing) procedure to remove plaque and tartar from underneath the gums. These areas are not easily reached during tooth brushing and flossing or during regular dental cleanings. A germicidal mouthwash is usually prescribed to use for 1 week after the treatment to help your gums heal faster and reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.