This procedure is best described as a "deep cleaning." Its purpose is to clean underneath a patient's gums in order to remove build up and harmful bacteria which can progress their periodontal disease further. Removing the factors that are irritating the gums and supporting structures of the teeth is an attempt to allow the gums to heal. If left untreated, the disease could progress further into tooth loss. This procedure is different than a prophylaxis due to it involves going underneath the gums, where as a prophy appointment only deals with the removal of build up and bacteria which forms above the gums. A dental hygienist performs this procedure and uses similar instruments regularly used in a normal cleaning, but also has adjunctive services with being able to numb the gums for patient comfort.