Teeth cleaning (prophylaxis) by a dental hygienist removes tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine toothbrushing.
Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and polishing. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
The American Dental Association recommends having teeth professionally cleaned every six months.
More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during treatment of dental and other oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is performed at each cleaning along with examination of the whole mouth for signs of cancer or any other abnormalities. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays.
Between cleanings by a dental hygienist, good oral hygiene helps to prevent cavities, tartar build-up, and gum disease.