Scaling is the removal of hard deposits such as tartar from the teeth.

If dental plaque is not completely removed every day, it will become hardened on to the tooth because of salts in the saliva and a fluid from the gums. Dentists call this deposit 'calculus' but it is more commonly known as tartar. It may vary in hardness and colour depending on the rate at which that patient builds it and how long since it was last cleaned away.

The presence of tartar means that the gums become red and swollen and they may bleed when toothbrushing is carried out. This is called gingivitis and may be a sign that there is some gum disease present. Scaling does not usually take very long if done regularly. If the tartar has been present for a long time, it may be more difficult to remove and can be very uncomfortable.

Sometimes polishing is done to remove some staining but this is of little health benefit so is not always offered.

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