Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. To treat periodontal disease, the first step is to do a deep cleaning, also called scaling and root planing. The goal of a deep cleaning is to remove the plaque and tartar that has collected below the gums. At the end of the deep cleaning, a localized antibiotic may be placed in the deep pockets. The antibiotics fight the bacteria that is causing the gum disease. The combination of the deep cleaning and locally placed antibiotics is the most effective treatment for eliminating harmful bacteria and shrinking the periodontal pockets.