Professional dental cleanings (scaling, root planing and polishing) are typically done by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam by the dentist and:
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, white-yellow film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produces toxins that inflame the gums, which can cause bleeding and redness. This inflammation is called gingivitis and is the start of periodontal disease.
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has formed on the tooth and will be firmly attached. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with appropriate dental instruments called scalers.
- Teeth polishing: Staining and plaque that is not otherwise removed during scaling can be removed by cleaning the teeth with a polishing paste.