Dental scaling is the most common non-surgical way to treat gum disease, which is also known as periodontitis. If your disease is limited, but not severe, your dentist may recommend scaling to treat the disease and keep it away from getting worse. But if you have severe periodontal disease and your condition may require gum surgery, your dentist and periodontist may recommend a dental scaling before the surgery, as well as a thorough teeth-cleaning prior to the procedure. The sticky, bacteria-filled plaque that causes gum disease tends to accumulate in the area along and just below the gum line. If you have gums that are slightly receded from your teeth, you may be at increased risk for gum disease and your dentist may recommend scaling. Scaling is nonsurgical, but it is a different type of procedure from a standard dental cleaning because it involves cleaning the areas of the tooth below the gum line.