When food isn’t adequately cleaned off of teeth, it can form a home for bacteria (called plaque).

Plaque causes inflammation so that the gums may bleed (gingivitis) when the patient brushes or flosses.

As the minerals from saliva go into the plaque, the plaque becomes hard, and rock like accumulations build up on the teeth and gums (called tartar).

This can cause bad breath and tooth loss as the gums and underlying jaw bone become irritated and inflamed.


When someone gets a cleaning at the dentist, the plaque and tartar are removed.






For heavy plaque and tartar accumulations, deep cleanings may be recommended.



For people with healthy teeth and gums, a cleaning every 6 months is generally recommended.
A lot of people get cleanings every 3 months especially if they;

– have braces,

– had gum disease in the past, or

– tend to build plaque/tartar quickly.


Lower teeth BEFORE cleaning.

Same teeth AFTER cleaning.
  The photos on the left show what we typically see during a patient’s 3 or 6 month cleaning visits.

BEFORE cleaning.
Tartar irritating gums after years of accumulating.
When plaque, tartar, & bacteria sit on the gums, the gums tend to get red and puffy.
This inflamed state of the gums can lead to soreness and bleeding.
Same teeth AFTER cleaning.
With the tartar removed, the red, puffy gums are easy to see.
The gums have a chance to heal now.