Prophylaxis is a standard procedure that is performed by the hygienist each time you have a dental cleaning. Prophylaxis includes scaling and root planing. Scaling is the removal of calcified plaque and tartar from the outer surfaces of the teeth. Root planing is scaling that takes place below the gum line.
Prophylaxis is performed with special dental files and scalers. These tools are specifically designed to fit in the spaces between teeth and under the gum line. They are sharp enough to dislodge hardened plaque and tartar from the tooth, but gentle enough that they do not damage the tooth enamel.
Prophylaxis should be performed every six months. It is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require any anesthesia and does not require any post-procedure care beyond normal brushing and flossing.