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Advanced gum disease sometime requires the dentist to clean below the gum line to remove stubborn, crusty deposits called tartar or calculus, and to remove damage near the tooth root. This is done to prevent further damage and restore and stabilize the tooth. 

For some patients, a local anesthetic is administered to the affected area. Then, a small scaling instrument and/or ultrasonic cleaning device are used to remove the deposits. 

After cleaning, the root may need to be smoothed, or planed, to restore it as much as possible to its original shape. Planing also allows your gum tissue to better attach itself and heal properly.