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 tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned at least once every year or two. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during treatment of dental and other oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays. See also dental plaque identification procedure and removal.
Between cleanings by a dental hygienist, good oral hygiene helps to prevent cavities, tartar build-up, and gum disease.