Professional dental cleanings are performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. The hygienist will remove calculus (tartar) and plaque from your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on tooth structure. It is a colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. As plaque accumulates minerals from saliva, it begins to harden, forming calculus/tartar. Calculus/tartar is firmly attached to the tooth surface above and/or below the gum line and cannot be removed by a toothbrush alone, but only by professional dental instruments. In addition, the plaque forming bacteria produces toxins and acids that break down tooth structure causing decay and inflammation of the gum tissues leading to periodontal (gum) disease. When the hygienist polishes your teeth with her professional instruments, she removes any remaining stain and plaque leaving you with a beautiful clean smile.