What to Expect During a Teeth Cleaning?

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You very well know how important it is to have routine teeth cleanings to help prevent both cavities and gum disease. But what you do not know is that there are actually two types of cleanings. One is the routine cleaning you have every six months, and another is a much deeper cleaning that is applied to those with moderate to advanced gum disease

Even if you have not heard of deep dental cleaning before, you might have heard others call it – root planing and scaling. But why is a deep cleaning performed? 

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Many people dread teeth cleanings. It is easy to understand their worry between the strange noises, prodding, and occasional jaw discomfort. But for others, teeth cleaning is a painless and straightforward procedure. If you know what is going on during the procedure, it can help ease your stress. Moreover, it will allow you to enjoy the minty-fresh results better.

Here we discuss the different types of cleaning and how to identify which one you are going to need.

What is Teeth Cleaning or Scaling?

Cleaning or scaling your teeth is a type of oral hygiene that requires removing dental plaque from your teeth in order to avoid cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. 

As you know, brushing and interdental washing are common ways you might clean your teeth. But your dentist may remove dried deposits or tartar that are not removed by regular cleaning. If you have dentures, you can supplement their cleaning with a denture cleaner.

Thorough teeth cleaning can only remove plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth. Cleaning can only reduce gum inflammation and improve gum health. 

Plaque on teeth is a toxic material caused by the mixing of food particles with saliva and involves bacteria. You can remove plaque, which accumulates – daily brushing your teeth. 

However, you need to understand that brushing does not remove all the plaque between your teeth. Your dentist might recommend that you have a dental inlay. The dental inlay procedure is carried out in conjunction with root planing. The technique is referred to as “deep washing” in layman’s terms.

If you have periodontal disorder, it is treated with tooth grinding and root preparation. Tartar is formed on your teeth as plaque calcifies or hardens. The primary cause of gum disease is plaque or tartar accumulation. 

Gingivitis, or gum infection, is an example of plaque accumulation. If left unchecked, gingivitis will result in periodontitis. This is a severe oral infection that causes the bone that protects your teeth to deteriorate.

Dental Cleanings: How Are They Done? 

One primary goal of these dental cleanings is to get rid of plaque and tartar deposits that can cause gum disease. If not done periodically, it can lead to other oral health problems. But beyond that, the two procedures are a lot different.

1 Routine Dental Cleanings

This is the type of cleaning you get when you visit periodically for your regular six-month check-up. During a routine dental cleaning, your dentist uses special tools to remove sticky plaque and hard tartar deposited on the surface of your teeth above your gums. These cleanings are very important. As they prevent gum disease and even treat very mild forms of the disease commonly known as gingivitis.

During your routine cleanings, your dentist will suggest the areas of your mouth where your brushing and flossing routines need help. Your dentist will make sure you are performing both those tasks correctly. 

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The end goal is to get rid of as much plaque and tartar during your home routine as possible. In addition to preventing gum disease, tooth cavities, having your teeth cleaned also helps keep bad breath at bay. 

Your dentist will combine routine cleanings with a regular check-up while they examine your teeth. As part of the check-up they will also perform an oral cancer screening and take X-rays if required.

2 Deep Dental Cleanings

As the name implies, deep dental cleanings use special techniques to get rid of plaque, tartar, and bacteria below your gum line. It provides your teeth with a deep cleaning all the way down to your tooth roots. 

The harmful bacteria that cause gum disease hide in the tartar deposits on your teeth surface protected by your gums. As these bacteria multiply and grow they continuously release toxins that irritate your gums. 

Over time your gums slowly start to pull away from the surface of your teeth, creating protocols that allow these bacteria to travel all the way down to your roots. The infections caused in the lower part of your tooth can weaken your roots, eventually causing your teeth to fall out. In fact, studies have proved that gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss among adults. 

If you regularly get deep dental cleaning done, it will remove bacteria below your gum line and around the tooth roots to prevent gum disease from advancing. In addition, during your visit, your dentist will smooth your teeth surfaces to make it harder for bacteria to “stick” to them in the future. 

Sometimes, your dentist might also apply an antibiotic gel during the cleaning to kill hard-to-reach germs. Else your dentist might prescribe oral antibiotics or a special antibiotic mouth rinse which would further aid in cleaning. 

Because it often goes below your gum line, your dentist might use local anesthetics to numb your gums during a deep dental cleaning. If you are anxious or your gums are very sensitive, your dentist will use sedation to keep you calm and comfortable.

When is Teeth Cleaning Necessary?

Each one of you might experience some plaque build-up. Bacteria, saliva, and proteins in the mouth form a thin crust that protects your teeth. 

When you chew, small particles, sugars, and acids from your food adhere to this film, which forms plaque on your teeth. The bacteria that thrive in this plaque actually cause gum disease and tooth cavities. 

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Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings simultaneously will help remove plaque build-up and prevent more serious problems. The tissues will fit tightly around your teeth and prevent plaque from entering if you have healthy gums. 

Healthy gums support your tooth 1 to 3 millimeters below the gum line. When you develop gum disease, you will begin to develop deeper pockets. These are then filled with plaque, making your problems worse, and causing symptoms like bad breath.

Types of Teeth Cleaning Procedures

There are different types of teeth cleaning procedures. But the type your dentist is likely to use will depend on your specific oral care needs. The four major forms of teeth cleaning techniques are:

1 Cleaning Prophylaxis

It is a teeth cleaning procedure used for people with a generally healthy mouth. A prophylactic cleaning is generally designed to perform routine maintenance. 

Such as removing any expected amount of plaque and tartar build-up from the surface of your teeth, gums, and middle teeth. Prophylactic teeth brushing can also help to extract excess plaque and other small marks that remain on your teeth surface, even though you might have a relatively clear mouth.

2 Scaling and Root Planing

Root scaling and planing are slightly more invasive, although it is a non-surgical dental cleaning procedure. It involves deep cleaning of your gums, gum line, and other supporting tooth structures. 

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Your dentist will often recommend scaling and root planing techniques if you suffer from gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Scaling and root planing generally involves smoothing the surface of your tooth root and removing any existing tartar and plaque. It can sometimes take several visits to the clinic to complete the treatment.

3 Gross Debridement

In the event that you have not visited your dentist in several years, a good amount of plaque might likely have accumulated on the gums, teeth, and between your teeth. 

Subsequently, a coarse debridement – a deep cleaning technique will remove tartar from all areas of your mouth. It is especially used for people who have not been to the dentist for a while. 

In this case, the first thing the dentist does is perform an oral examination. After the oral examination, your dentist will decide if routine prophylactic cleaning is sufficient. Or whether a significant debridement is necessary before the prophylactic cleaning.

4 Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is referred to as routine maintenance specifically for people with severe oral problems. Mainly, periodontal maintenance can be provided to people with periodontitis or gingivitis. 

In case of periodontal cleaning you need to make regular trips to your dentist to clean your whole mouth. Your dentist will continue the cleaning process for a specific period or until all your oral health problems are adequately treated. The maintenance is carried out until the symptoms of your gum disease are managed and entirely under control.

The Bottom Line

As you have seen, both routine dental cleanings and deep cleanings play essential roles in preventing your tooth infection and tooth loss primarily caused by gum disease. If it has been a while since your last dental cleaning, do not put it off any longer.

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