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HomeHealthHow Dental Cleanings Remove Plaque and Tartar

How Dental Cleanings Remove Plaque and Tartar

Regular cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup to maintain oral health. Family dentists and hygienists perform this important preventive procedure. However, many people do not fully understand what occurs during cleaning. This article discusses the cleaning process and how it benefits patients. Patients can better understand the benefits of routine six-month visits to their family dentist by being aware of the cleaning procedure. Proper home care between visits also supports dental health long-term.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a soft, sticky film containing bacteria. It constantly forms on teeth from food debris. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar within a few days. Plaque causes cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Cleanings aim to thoroughly remove all plaque below and above the gumline.

What is Tartar?

Tartar, also called calculus, is hardened or calcified plaque that has bonded to the tooth surface. Brushing alone cannot remove it once formed. Only a dental professional has the tools to meticulously scrape or chip away tartar during cleanings. Removing tartar prevents periodontal issues from developing.

The Cleaning Process

First, dentists or hygienists gently scrape and polish tooth surfaces below the gumline using hand tools like scalers. An air-water syringe rinses away debris. Ultrasonic scalers use vibrations to carefully dissolve stubborn tartar deposits. Finally, a polishing paste buffs the teeth to a smooth, shiny finish.

Checkup and Instructions

Dentists then examine teeth and gums for any problem areas. Patients learn how to improve home care techniques. Flossing advice targets tight contacts. Electric toothbrushes may be recommended. Patients understand what promotes oral health between regular cleanings. Dentists aim for prevention over treatment whenever possible.

Benefits of Cleanings

Regular cleanings remove built-up plaque that brushing misses. They are deep clean below the gumline where periodontal disease starts. Removing tartar prevents damage to gums, bones, and teeth over time. Cleanings catch early cavities or gum issues too. Patients maintain natural teeth and a healthy smile with lifelong cleanings every six months.

Manual Cleaning

Primary cleaning involves rotating rubber tip instruments that brush plaque gently away from the enamel surface, and gums efficiently.

Power Cleaning

Hygienists may use powered prophy angles polishing pastes to help scrub away stubborn markings for smoother surfaces normally.

Root Planing

Below the gumline, instruments carefully scrape smooth root surfaces and remove calculus protecting against bleedings typically.


Flossing aids clean hard-to-hard-to-reach between and behind teeth areas. Combined cleaning is superior for preventing gum disease usually.


After scrubbing, the hygienist polishes and smooths the enamel keeping fresh breath and returning a healthy shine regularly typically.

Cleanings performed regularly are essential removing toxins promotes oral wellness. Teamed with homecare daily brushing between cleanings, protect against tooth decay, and gum issues achieve brighter smiles through family dentistry confidently usually.


Performing dental cleaning by certified dental hygienists is crucial for maintaining oral health by mechanically eliminating plaque and tartar accumulation from teeth. These cleanings can disrupt deposits that cause cavities and gum disease, reducing the need for regular house maintenance. Cleanings performed by dental professionals provide deep plaque and tartar removal impossible with home care alone. They play a vital preventive role in long-term oral and overall health. With proper instruction, patients fully understand their responsibilities as well.

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