A dental cleaning is called a prophylaxis or a “prophy.” This includes the removal of plaque and calculus by scaling and polishing all tooth surfaces above the gum line.
In some cases a deep cleaning is recommended. This is referred to as scaling and root planning and is often recommended if there is bone loss, periodontal disease and/or buildup of calculus below the level of gum tissue. A numbing agent is applied and then teeth are cleaned above and below the gum line. Removal of plaque and calculus in these areas is very important to allow gum tissue to heal with less inflammation which reduces further bone loss.