Periodontal scaling removes the plaque and tartar (calculus) deposits from the root surface under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky substance, full of bacteria, that forms on teeth. When plaque hardens over time, it is called calculus.Plaque is more likely to stick to rough surfaces. For this reason, the root surface is smoothed down in a process called root planing. Root planing removes any remaining calculus and smoothes irregular areas of the root surface. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia to make the patient more comfortable. Many times it can be performed in two to four visits depending on the amount of plaque/tartar deposits or inflammation present.