This form of preventive dentistry involves the cleaning of pockets in the gums to treat and prevent gum problems. Root planing is used to treat moderate to advanced gum diseases. When the gum is inflamed, gum pockets become deeper and they may lose connections to the bone inside. The deeper the pockets, the easier it is for plaque deposits to become trapped and worsen gum problems. Root planing involves inserting a pointed dental tool called scalers into the pockets to clean plaque buildup. Depending on the degree of difficulty, root planning may take several appointments and a local anesthesia to prevent pain. Again, practicing good preventive dentistry techniques can assist in preventing gum problems.