During your routine professional cleaning, your dental hygienist will perform scaling and root planning. If plaque is missed by the toothbrush and floss it can become hardened over time. This is called dental calculus. Scaling is the removal of this hardened plaque (calculus) on our teeth. Root planning is the removal of calculus that has embedded on the tooth root surface below the gum line. Root planning leaves the root smooth and reduces bacterial attachment and embedment.