Scaling is the procedure to remove calculus (tartar) and soft deposits (plaque) from the teeth. Calculus removal is part of each professional tooth cleaning. Scaling and polishing is a preventive procedure and is a first-line defense against dental problems. Tooth polishing or prophylaxis removes plaque or stains remaining on the teeth after thorough scaling. The purpose of polishing tooth surfaces is to make these surfaces smooth which makes it more difficult for plaque and debris to accumulate on your teeth to cause decay or gum disease.
Root planning involves smoothing the root surfaces of your teeth with thin curettes so gum tissue can more firmly reattach to roots that are clean and smooth to prevent tooth loss and sensitivity problems. The procedure makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surface.