A regular teeth cleaning is known as a prophylaxis in dental terms. The American Dental Association describes a prophylaxis as removal of plaque, calculus and stains from the tooth structures.
Removal of plaque, calculus and stains is accomplished by dental instruments that scrape away deposits from the teeth. An electric device, called an ultra-sonic or sonic scaler may also be used. This deposit removal is performed on tooth structures that have not been affected by bone loss; typically the crowns of the teeth.
Calculus is also known as tartar and is a hard, mineralized deposit, somewhat like cement, that is formed from the plaque in the mouth and the minerals in a person’s saliva.
Plaque is a soft, sticky substance that forms on teeth, regardless of what types of foods are eaten, which is composed of bacteria and bacterial by-products.
A regular cleaning is recommended for persons who do not have any bone loss, periodontal disease, or infection around their teeth. There should also be no bleeding, mobility of teeth, receded areas where the gums have pulled away from the teeth, or gaps where the spaces around the Toots of the teeth are exposed. In other words, the mouth should be healthy, with no gum and bone problems.