Cleanings are typically performed by a hygienist, but can also be performed by the dentist. Cleanings typically involve the removal of plaque, stains, and calculus that has developed on or just below the gum line. A patient diagnosed with gum disease may require a “deep cleaning,” a treatment that involves scraping the roots of a tooth to remove bacteria and tartar. Failure to remove bacteria and buildup can lead to more serious issues like gingivitis and periodontitis. Most patients are encouraged to have two cleanings per year, but patients who are elderly or who practice poor oral hygiene often need more frequent attention.