Professional teeth cleaning is known as prophylaxis treatment, or "prophy" for short. That means that it is preventative. In a cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of your teeth. Dental plaque and tartar can lead to all sorts of dental problems, including tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
The teeth cleaning procedure is most often performed by a hygienist. Tooth scaling and tooth polishing will remove debris from your teeth, leaving them clean and shiny. If you have swollen gums or other signs of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend a full periodontal cleaning. These intensive cleanings don't just clean off the visible part of your teeth; they clean the teeth below the gum line.
A regular dental hygiene cleaning will help minimize your chances of developing tooth problems. What's more, dental hygiene appointments are accompanied by dental exams. Your dentist will check all of your teeth, looking for any indications of developing problems.
Dental x-rays also help your dentist diagnose any new dental problems. Dentists generally advise patients to get x-rays approximately once every two years. But as with anything, your dentist will advise what's best for you.