Even with good daily oral hygiene, some plaque still remains in your mouth. Over time it can harden and become tartar (also known as calculus) which, if left in your mouth, causes periodontal disease. Tartar can be removed only by a dentist or dental hygienist with a process called “scaling”, in which either ultrasound vibrations or a manual tool called a “scaler” are used to remove tartar from the portion of your tooth that is below the gum line.
Since plaque and calculus love to grab onto rough surfaces of the tooth, once the built-up tartar has been removed from your tooth, the rough or irregular surfaces are smoothed away with a process called “root planing”. This process is used to prevent periodontal disease, reverse any early signs of gum disease and to prevent any existing periodontal disease from spreading.