The bacterial plaque that builds up on our teeth will harden over time as the minerals in our saliva precipitate out. The result is tartar, a hard deposit that contains much of the same bacterial toxins as the plaque it was formed from.
Everyone builds up tartar. Failure to remove the normal buildup from the teeth allows gingivitis and periodontitis (gum inflammation and infection) to occur. And the only way to remove this tartar is with professional dental cleaning by a dental hygienist.
Professional teeth cleaning usually involves several steps. First, we measure the depth of the periodontal pockets, the space between the teeth and the gums. We do the fine scaling and root planning with precise hand instruments, followed by polishing the teeth.
Having tartar removed can help prevent gum disease and keep the earliest stages of the condition (gingivitis) from progressing to the more advanced and irreversible stages (periodontitis).