Deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planing (SRP). It is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease (periodontitis). Scaling removes the tartar and bacteria from the tooth surfaces and beneath the gums. Root planing smoothes the root surfaces and discourages further buildup of tartar and bacteria. Local anesthesia may be needed to numb the gums and roots of the teeth. In some cases topical or oral antibiotics are recommended to help control bacterial infection. Topical antibiotics include medicated mouth rinses or insertion of antibiotic gels in the gum pockets after deep cleaning.