Plaque is a sticky bacteria-filled coating that builds up on our teeth daily. Plaque can be removed with brushing and flossing, though even with excellent homecare, plaque may be missed at or below the gumline. It is the plaque that is left that hardens and develops into tartar. Tartar adheres to the tooth structure and has a rough texture, so plaque clings to it more easily, this increases the build-up that cannot be removed by your toothbrush. If the tartar is left the bacteria it contains leads to chronic inflammation of the gums, and possible tooth loss.
Scaling is the process used to remove tartar from your teeth, leaving the tooth surface clean and smooth. Scaling is the most common non-surgical way to treat gum disease, it is done with either ultrasonic or hand tools or a combination of both. When the scaling is complete the hygienist may polish your teeth to remove any stain, and residual plaque. Application of fluoride serves to strengthen tooth structure and may help to reduce sensitivity.