Routine dental cleanings are important to maintaining good oral hygiene. Professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist can remove mineralized plaque that often develops even with careful brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. It is recommended you go in for a cleaning once every six months, even if you have healthy teeth and gums. Though there are some people who require more frequent cleanings.
How it's done
You can expect your dental cleaning appointment to last between 30 minutes and an hour. Most people find that dental cleanings are painless, and do not cause any discomfort.
There are several different types of cleanings. A routine cleaning, sometimes called a prophylaxis is ONLY done when a person has no gum disease. It involves scaling the teeth, whereby the the plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces are removed.. This can be performed by hand or with electric/ultrasonic scalers .
The second step is polishing, to remove any final plaque, andbuff the teeth. Polishers generally have several different sized heads to clean hard to reach places.
Prior to every dental cleaning, the gums will be checked and measured for any signs of gum disease and infection. If any gum disease is found, it will be discussed with you and the options to restoring your gum health will be given. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT because gum disease almost NEVER HURTS! It is very rare that a person has gum disease is even aware of it, until it's very last stages when it may be too late to save your teeth. The only sign people are aware of is that their "gums bleed a little when flossing." Bleeding gums, even when flossing, is not healthy, and should be a sign that something is likely wrong with your oral health.
Typically the initial stages of gum infection therapy include scaling and root planing and or more frequent cleanings. A procedure which involves numbing the gums so you are comfortable, then removing the plaque and tarter that is far below your gums. It is sometimes called a "deep cleaning". Once the plaque and tarter is removed your gums will heal and with improved home care and oral hygiene, you will keep your teeth for the rest of your life!
Please view the videos below to learn more about gum/periodontal disease and how it is treated.