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Dental Cleanings: What Are They And What Do They Do?

Jan 16

Did you know you have hundreds of naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth that love to live on the surface of your teeth and consume the same food you do? Isn't that gross? Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings can help to eliminate extra germs from your teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends that people visit their local dental office once every six months for a dental exam and cleaning to prevent bacteria populations from developing and causing dental concerns such as tooth decay and gum disease. Professional teeth cleanings will remove extra plaque and tartar, while dental examinations will allow your general dentist to check the condition of your teeth and gums. Because germs thrive in tooth plaque and tartar, this also eliminates a significant amount of bacteria.

Your dentist will conduct one of the four types of dental cleanings listed below, depending on the quantity of plaque and tartar on your teeth:


Dental Cleaning Prophylaxis

"To prevent illness" is the definition of prophylaxis. As a result, a prophylactic dental cleaning is utilized to keep healthy teeth free of tooth decay and gum disease. Using a dental scaler or a water stream, prophylaxis cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the front, back, and sides of teeth. Most dental patients simply need a prophylaxis cleaning, especially if they've been practicing regular dental care and attending semi-annual dental checkups.


Cleaning Of The Scaling And Root Planing

Gingivitis and periodontitis are treated by scaling and root planing cleanings, often known as thorough cleanings. Gingivitis deep cleanings are frequently accomplished in only one dental visit. Periodontitis deep cleanings, on the other hand, may necessitate many sessions and the use of local anesthetics, depending on the severity of the condition. Scaling is a procedure for removing plaque and tartar from the tooth's surface as well as the gum pockets that occur beneath the gum line as a result of gum disease. This not only kills germs but also reduces gum irritation. Root planing is the technique of flattening the dental roots to aid in the reattachment of the gums to the teeth and the elimination of gum pockets.


Cleaning of Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is treated by periodontal maintenance cleanings. They remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and gum pockets, as well as smoothing out the roots if necessary, similar to scaling and root planing. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are distinct from other types of dental cleanings in that they are often conducted more frequently. This is due to the fact that gum disease is a progressive condition that will worsen if not treated properly.


Gross Debridement Cleaning

Gross debridement cleanings are the most thorough teeth cleanings available, aiming to remove large quantities of plaque and tartar from teeth. Individuals who have a hard time keeping up with their dental hygiene routines or who have avoided the dentist for a long time are usually the ones who fall into this category. During thorough debridement cleanings, an electrical instrument is used to dislodge tartar, which hardens into plaque and is very difficult to remove in big volumes. A prophylaxis cleaning is conducted after the extra plaque and tartar have been removed to thoroughly clean the teeth.

As you can see, based on what your dentist discovers during your dental checkup, several forms of dental cleanings may be used. While all of these cleanings follow the same fundamental principles, each one takes a somewhat different approach depending on the circumstances. Only one question remains now that you've learned about the four different forms of dental cleanings: when was the last time you had your teeth cleaned?