The Dental Cleaning Process
You may be brushing and flossing diligently at home, but there is always going to be some trace of plaque that you can’t get rid of. That’s why regular dental cleanings are so important. Besides getting the teeth thoroughly clean – and therefore maintaining their health – professional cleanings also have other benefits, such as preventing cavities and gum disease, saving you money by avoiding more complicated dental procedures, and even keeping certain diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease at bay. Continue reading to learn about what exactly goes on when you visit the dentist for your cleaning.
Dental Cleaning Procedure
A dental hygienist is normally the person who performs the cleaning. After a preliminary dental exam, in which the health of the teeth, gums, and mouth is assessed, the hygienist will begin with a tartar and plaque removal. In between cleanings, plaque, tartar (hardened plaque), and calcium build up on the surface of the teeth. Leaving this untreated can put the teeth in danger of various mouth and gum diseases. On the other hand, removing these potentially hazardous layers prevents bacteria from attacking the teeth, improving oral hygiene. These layers are removed using specialized instruments that can break through and remove the buildup without damaging the teeth. An ultrasonic instrument may also be used to dismantle and loosen the bulk of the buildup, which is then rinsed away with a cooling mist of water. Following that, finer cleaning utensils called scalers and curettes are used to file-clean and smooth the surfaces of the teeth.
Once the tartar and plaque have been removed, the teeth are polished with a rubber polishing cup, a specialized prophy paste, and a motorized instrument. This is essentially a professional tooth-brushing that removes bacterial plaque and surface stains so that you leave the dentist office with your teeth feeling clean and smooth.
A standard dental cleaning is a coronal process, meaning that it is performed above the gum tissues. This is sufficient for most patients, but for those who have developed a dental illness, a more thorough cleaning process may be necessary