- by Dr. Karanjit Dhillon
- August 25, 2022
People are known to be apprehensive and scared of dental cleanings due to the prodding, weird noises, and jaw discomfort whereas usually, teeth cleaning is a simple and painless process.
A detailed insight into what goes on during the process can help you to relax and be stress-free during the procedure.
Cleaning the teeth is usually one of the most underrated processes in our daily routines. In fact, studies prove that most people do not clean their teeth adequately and the cleaning methods and habits actually do more harm than good. This may lead to problems despite regular brushing and cleaning.
This makes it extremely important to have sessions with the dentist to get teeth cleaned, once every six months.
What is Dental Cleaning?
A key to optimal teeth health and a sparkling smile, dental cleaning focuses on the removal of plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and under the gum line to prevent the likelihood of cavities, gum disease & tooth.
Dental cleaning also allows your dentist to look for any signs of tooth decay, oral cancer, or other oral health issues.
Dental cleaning is a non-surgical, routine procedure, and the time taken to accomplish it can vary from person to person, depending on the condition of the teeth & gums and the amount of scaling needed. However, a routine dental cleaning usually takes an hour or less.
What is the Procedure of Dental Cleaning?
Physical examination is a very important part of the procedure, where the dentist thoroughly examines the teeth and gums prior to the dental cleaning, to check for any indications of gingivitis or additional concerns.
X-rays may be taken to identify any abnormality that may need treatment or a consultation with a specialist.
After collecting all the assessment data, the dentist makes the diagnosis of the present condition and creates a treatment plan to address the specific needs. The main factors that decide the frequency of X-rays or radiographs include:
- Patient’s age
- Current oral health
- Risk factors for disease
- Signs or symptoms of oral disease.
Once the examinations and suggestions are completed, the cleaning can begin.
What are the Various Types of Dental Cleaning?
There are primarily four different types of dental cleanings for different problems:
1. Prophylaxis Cleaning: This cleaning focuses on the prevention of the disease and is generally used in people with good dental health. The dentist removes the plaque and tartar from the front, back, and in between the teeth during a prophylaxis cleaning.
Recommended to be done at least twice a year, it can help to keep teeth and gums healthy. In high-risk patients, it may sometimes be recommended every 3 to 4 months also.
2. Scaling and Root Planing: Also known as deep dental cleaning, it is usually performed on patients affected with gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis, this has two main steps:
- Scaling: Plaque and tartar are removed from the visible surface of the teeth and also from the gum pocket below the gum line.
- Planing: After all the gum pockets are cleared up of plaque and tartar, the root surface is smoothened to facilitate and make the reattachment of the gums to the teeth easier. In some cases, one may need local anesthetics and more than one dental appointment to conduct scaling and root planing.
3. Periodontal Maintenance: Extremely significant for the patients affected with gum disease, Periodontal maintenance helps to manage both periodontitis and gingivitis.
Both these gum diseases being progressive in nature, continue to worsen if not treated, and ultimately lead to tooth loss. Periodontal cleanings are conducted more often than preventive cleanings and are usually recommended to be continued until the proper management of the symptoms.
4. Gross Debridement: Gross Debridement is usually done in patients who have deferred dental visits or teeth cleanings for a long time, leading to a substantial buildup of plaque and tartar.
Removing the plaque with a scaler tool, the dentist uses a special electric tool to loosen and remove tartar, which had hardened because of being in place for a while. This is followed by regular prophylaxis cleaning.
5. Fluoride Treatment: In the final step of the cleaning process, Fluoride treatment provides the teeth with protection against cavities for several months.
The dentist places a foamy gel or a sticky paste into a mouthpiece that fits over the teeth and leaves it on the teeth for a minute or so.
Fluoride varnish may sometimes be painted onto the teeth with a small brush. This varnish hardens on coming in contact with saliva and one can eat and drink normally immediately afterward.
How Often Should One Get Dental Cleaning?
The frequency and gap between dental cleanings depend on the observations made by the dentist or dental hygienist during the examination of the mouth and the patient’s unique conditions.
Dental cleanings are usually recommended every six months for optimal oral health but our dental experts at Morgan Hill Dentistry explain that a shorter interval of every three to four months may become necessary if there are any indications of gum disease in the patient.
Sometimes the dentist may recommend Molar sealants for children as they can help to deter cavities in difficult-to-brush areas of the mouth.
One must remember that maintaining regular teeth cleanings and visiting the dentist for checkups regularly is extremely important to prevent potential dental problems and diseases completely.
Which is the Best Type of Dental Cleaning?
Prophylaxis cleaning is generally considered good enough for most patients. However, the dentist may advise scaling and root planing, periodontal maintenance, or gross debridement for a few patients depending on the condition of the mouth.
The type of cleaning best suited for you can only be suggested by a proficient dentist after a thorough physical examination. One should however remember that each type of cleaning is focused on improving your oral health and preventing potentially detrimental dental problems.
What are the Advantages of Deep Cleaning of the Teeth?
Deep cleaning of the teeth becomes necessary if the gums pull away from the teeth, creating a space more than 5 mm deep, due to gum disease.
As the worsening of the gum disease can continuously widen the space between the gums and the teeth, it can further lead to the weakening of the bones that support the teeth, leading to loose teeth or even tooth loss.
Deep Cleaning can help in:
- Improving the overall oral health
- Stopping the progress of gum disease.
- Treating the present infection & promoting healing
- Cleaning the teeth from both above and below the gum line
- Getting rid of bad breath, a result of the gum disease
- Protecting the roots of the teeth
What are the Risk Factors of Deep Cleaning Teeth?
Deep cleaning can be extremely effective in treating gum disease. However, like any medical procedure, it has its risks too, though they are usually rare. The possible disadvantages of deep cleaning include:
- Possible nerve damage
- Lack of guarantee of the gums reattach to the teeth
- Can cause receding of the gums
- Chances of infection in cases of the compromised immune system
- Pain and sensitivity
- Sometimes antibiotics may need to be prescribed.
The most common side effects of Deep Dental cleaning are usually only pain and sensitivity with all other risks being usually minimal.
Moreover, the pain and sensitivity also last for not more than a week or even less except for a few extensive cases, where it may last for a few more days.
How Painful is the Deep Dental Cleaning?
Teeth scaling and root planing can cause some discomfort and pain but a topical or local anesthetic is given by the dentist to numb the gums and minimize the discomfort.
Our team at Morgan Hill Dentistry makes sure that our patients are fully relaxed and free from any discomfort during their cleaning.
Some post-procedure sensitivity, swelling of the gums, and minor bleeding can be expected after the procedure too.
Tips to Reduce Sensitivity After the Procedure
We at Morgan Hill Dentistry, recommend our patients follow the following tips to reduce sensitivity after the Deep Dental Cleaning:
- Eating soft foods for a few days after the procedure.
- Avoid extremely hot & cold foods and drinks.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications and rinse with warm salt to reduce inflammation.
- Brushing and flossing twice a day to facilitate healing & decrease further gum inflammation.
A Word From Us
Regular deep teeth cleanings can go a long way in giving you sparkling teeth and a fresh smile with minimal and manageable risks.
Our team of experienced dental specialists discusses in detail and guides you completely about the process and implications of all dental procedures.
So what are you waiting for?
Sparkling White Teeth and Minty fresh breath are just an appointment away.