During a teeth cleaning, a dental professional, such as a dentist or dental hygienist, will use specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth, and tartar is a hard, calcified deposit that forms when plaque is not removed. The dental professional will use a scaler to gently scrape away the plaque and tartar from the teeth, and may also use a fine-grained abrasive paste to polish the teeth. The dental professional may also use floss or interdental cleaners to remove plaque and debris from between the teeth. After the cleaning, the dental professional will likely provide you with instructions for maintaining good oral hygiene at home. The entire process typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour.