Teeth should be professionally cleaned twice every year.  Depending on the amount of plaque and tartar (calculus) present, the dentist may decide to utilize an ultrasonic scaler.  Once the plaque and tartar is removed, flossing and polishing of teeth will take place.

There are three big benefits of having teeth cleaned professionally.  First, during the removal of plaque buildup, the dentist may uncover unseen decay that was not visible during the exam.  Secondly, the dentist will have the opportunity to educate their patient in the areas where plaque seems to be a bigger problem.  This can then lead to improved home-care, and decreased cavities in the future.  Lastly, most patients accumulate tartar between cleanings.  Removal of these mineral-like deposits cannot be accomplished by a patient.  Left unchecked for years, it's presence will often lead to bone loss around teeth, and finally, premature tooth loss due to periodontitis.