Did you know that you have a whole community of naturally occurring bacteria living in your mouth? Most of them are harmless and help break down food, however they can become a problem without proper dental hygiene. The good news is that the bacteria can be removed from your teeth through regular brushing, flossing, and visiting your local general dentist for dental cleanings.
In order to protect your mouth from the bacteria growing and causing dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease, the American Dental Association recommends that children and adults visit your local family dentist two times per year. At these bi-annual dental check-ups, your dentist will evaluate the overall state of your teeth and gums, as well as make any necessary corrections to prevent or reverse any damage by removing excess plaque, calculus, and tartar.
At your dental appointment, your dentist will perform one of the following cleanings depending on the amount of plaque, stain, and tartar on your teeth.
Prophylaxis Dental Cleaning
A prophylactic cleaning, also known as a regular dental cleaning or prophy, is a routine dental procedure where the dentist thoroughly cleans the teeth to prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and gingivitis. During the cleaning, the dentist removes plaque and tartar from the front, back, and sides of teeth using a dental scaler or water stream. At the end of your teeth cleaning, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment if needed. If you’ve been taking care of your teeth and visiting your dentist every 6 months, you’ll most likely just need a prophylaxis cleaning.
Scaling and Root Planing Cleaning
Scaling and root planing cleanings, also known as deep cleanings, are used to treat gum issues like gingivitis and periodontitis. Your general dentist or periodontist will recommend a deep cleaning procedure if you have signs of chronic periodontal disease like bleeding, gum inflammation, swollen gums, or loose teeth. This type of treatment will help stop the harmful effects of the disease and keep your mouth healthy. Deep cleanings for gingivitis generally only require one appointment. By contrast, periodontitis deep cleanings may require multiple appointments and local anesthetics depending on the severity of the decay.
During a deep cleaning, your dentist will use either a manual scaler or an ultrasonic scaler to remove away any buildup that has been collecting between your teeth and gums. Your dentist will then smooth the root of the tooth using a scaling tool which helps your gums reattach to your teeth. During this process, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your appointments, so we use the most current techniques in order to complete your deep cleanings comfortably and quickly.
Periodontal Maintenance Cleaning
Periodontal maintenance is a dental cleaning where the primary focus is on treating gum disease. The frequency of cleaning an area depends on the amount of plaque buildup, risk factors for gum disease, and how long your gums have been in poor health. The more fragile or inflamed your gums are, the more often you’ll need periodontal maintenance cleanings. Like scaling and root planning, your dentist will remove excess plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and gum pockets. If the area is not treated, the area will continue to get worse and will result in tooth loss.
Stop gum disease in its tracks
A dental cleaning is an essential part in both dental health and overall health. While regular brushing and flossing can help keep your teeth clean, it cannot compare to what the dentist can do for you. Each type of professional teeth cleaning has been effective in improving oral health. Your dentist will recommend the best type of cleaning based on their assessment of your needs, the condition of your teeth and gums, as well as any other treatments being recommended. With our help, you can feel more confident knowing that your smile is exactly how it should be.
Have more Dental questions?
Both routine dental cleanings and deep cleanings play important roles in preventing infection, bad breath, cavities, bone loss caused by gum disease. If it’s been awhile since your last cleaning at your family dentist, have questions about your next regular teeth cleaning, or would just like to schedule an appointment with a member of our staff, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (972) 468-1440 or contact our office by leaving us a message.