Cleaning and Prevention About Scaling About Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone surrounding your teeth and is caused by the improper cleaning of your gums. Healthy gums and bone hold your teeth in place with special ligaments, called periodontal ligaments. If bacteria is allowed to accumulate in the pockets between your teeth and gums, infection can begin. Initially the infection will cause swelling of the gums causing the pockets to deepen. This allows more bacteria to accumulate in the pockets. At this stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis, proper cleaning by you and your dentist can stop the infection without permanent damage. If no corrective action is taken at the gingivitis stage, bacteria can begin to destroy gum tissue, periodontal ligaments, and bone that hold your teeth in place. This may result in receding gums or deepening of the pockets depending on the degree of inflammation and swelling in the gums. Once periodontal ligaments and bone tissue are destroyed, they will not grow back. With regular dental care, periodontal disease can usually be arrested, preventing further destruction of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. If deep and bleeding pockets persist, they should be professionally cleaned every three to four months to prevent future destruction of gum and bone tissue. Alternatively your dentist may suggest gum shaping to prevent these conditions. Scaling In addition to regular brushing and flossing, your teeth and gums periodically require professional cleaning. Periodontal diseases begins with plaque formation on your teeth both above and below the gum line. This causes inflammation and swelling of gum tissue. A scaling instrument is used by your dentist or hygienist during a regular dental visit to remove plaque and calculus above and below the gum line. Removing the plaque and calculus helps to prevent inflammation, which could otherwise lead to advancement of periodontal disease.