If someone brushes & flosses regularly & the teeth are not discolored, how necessary is a cleaning in the dental office?
Don’t confuse “cleaning” with “polishing.” The purpose of professional cleaning is to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, by removing stubborn plaque and hardened tartar. Polishing is a minor part of a professional cleaning, and only the last minutes are devoted to it. Plaque must be removed from all tooth surfaces, including the edges that brushing doesn’t reach. It’s at the gumline and below where neglected plaque hardens into tartar. Removing tartar at or near the gumline is called scaling. When plaque and tartar create damaging pockets between tooth roots and gums, the removal process is called root planing. Some people need a professional cleaning every three months, others need once a year.