If plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums which can cause them to bleed more easily. You may notice this if you are brushing your teeth or eating, and your gums bleed a bit. The buildup of plaque hardens into calculus (tartar) and can progress down the roots of the teeth, causing bone loss. During scaling and root planing, you will be numbed with local anesthetic, and we work below your gums to remove the calculus buildup. This is the first step to help reduce the inflammation and pocketing of your gums.