A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only 25 to 30 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. Patients with medical conditions that are more susceptible to gum disease are encouraged to come in for a dental cleaning every four months. Patients with periodontal disease will require more frequent visits to the dentist. Learn more about periodontal disease here.