Do you know that feeling you get after a dental cleaning? Your teeth feel smooth, your breath is fresh, and your smile is brighter. But have you ever wondered what exactly happens during a dental cleaning?
In this blog, we’ll dive into the details of dental cleaning, from the tools used to the techniques employed by dental hygienists. Whether you’re due for a cleaning or simply curious about the process, read on to learn more about this essential aspect of oral hygiene.
What Does a Dental Cleaning Consist Of?
Cleaning of teeth by a dentist is called dental cleaning, dental prophylaxis, or teeth cleaning. It is a routine dental procedure that removes plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gums to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. During a dental cleaning, the dentist or dental hygienist will use special tools to scrape off the buildup of plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum line and then polish the teeth to remove any remaining stains or debris.
The Process of Teeth Cleaning
The cleaning is typically performed by a dental hygienist and consists of several steps:
- Physical exam: Before the cleaning begins, the hygienist will perform a physical exam of your mouth to check for any signs of oral health problems.
- Scaling: Next, the hygienist will use a scaler to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. This is typically done using a combination of hand tools and ultrasonic instruments.
- Polishing: After the scaling, the hygienist will polish your teeth using a rotating brush and a special abrasive toothpaste. This helps to remove any remaining plaque and stains, leaving your teeth smooth and shiny.
- Flossing: Once your teeth have been polished, the hygienist will floss between your teeth to remove any remaining debris and ensure that your teeth are completely clean.
- Fluoride treatment: In some cases, the hygienist may apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth. This helps to strengthen the enamel and prevent tooth decay.
Overall, dental cleaning is a relatively quick and painless procedure that can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a dental cleaning at least once every six months, although your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings if you have specific oral health conditions. You can learn more about maintaining good oral hygiene on the American Dental Association’s website.
Deep Teeth Cleaning Scaling and Root Planing
Deep teeth cleaning, also known as periodontal scaling and root planing, is a dental procedure that involves removing plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gums. It is typically recommended for patients with gum disease or other periodontal problems.
During a deep cleaning, the dental hygienist or dentist will use special tools to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. They will also smooth out the roots of the teeth to make it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to them. In some cases, a dental laser may be used to perform deep cleaning, as it can be more precise and help kill bacteria and stimulate healing.
Cleaning Periodontal Maintenance
A deep cleaning may be performed in one or two appointments, depending on the severity of the periodontal disease. Patients may experience some discomfort during the procedure, but local anesthesia can be used to minimize pain. After the procedure, patients may experience some swelling, bleeding, or sensitivity, but these symptoms typically resolve within a few days.
It’s important to note that deep cleaning is not a substitute for regular dental cleanings, which are recommended twice a year for most patients. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease or other periodontal problems, talk to your dentist about whether a deep cleaning may be right for you. More about gum disease and its prevention can be found on WebMD’s page on gum disease.”
Cleaning at the Dentist: Teeth Cleaning Price
The cost of teeth cleaning can vary depending on several factors, such as the location of the dental office, the experience of the dentist or dental hygienist, and the type of cleaning performed.
Generally, routine dental cleaning or prophylaxis can cost anywhere from $75 to $200. In contrast, a deep cleaning or periodontal scaling and root planing can cost between $200 and $600 per quadrant (or section of the mouth).
It’s important to note that dental insurance may cover some or all of the cost of teeth cleaning, depending on the individual policy. Additionally, many dental offices offer financing or payment plans to help make dental care more affordable.
Disadvantages of Teeth Cleaning
Teeth cleaning is a routine dental procedure that offers many benefits, such as removing plaque and tartar buildup to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, improving the appearance of the teeth, and promoting overall oral health. However, there are some potential disadvantages or risks associated with teeth cleaning, including:
- Tooth sensitivity: Some patients may experience temporary tooth sensitivity or discomfort after a teeth cleaning, especially if they have sensitive teeth or if the cleaning was particularly thorough.
- Gum irritation: In some cases, the dental tools used during a teeth cleaning may cause temporary irritation or inflammation of the gums.
- Damage to dental work: If a patient has dental work such as fillings, crowns, or bridges, the dental tools used during cleaning may accidentally damage or dislodge this work.
- Spread of infection: In rare cases, teeth cleaning may spread infection if the dental tools are not properly sterilized between patients.
It’s important to note that these risks are generally infrequent and that the benefits of teeth cleaning typically far outweigh any potential disadvantages.
Why does Dental Cleaning Hurt So Much?
Dental cleaning typically does not hurt or cause significant pain, although some patients may experience mild discomfort or sensitivity during or after the procedure. If a dental cleaning is particularly painful or uncomfortable, it may be due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Gum inflammation or infection: If a patient has gum disease or another type of periodontal problem, their gums may be more sensitive and prone to pain or discomfort during a dental cleaning.
- Tooth decay or sensitivity: If a patient has a cavity or other type of tooth decay, the area may be more sensitive to the cleaning tools used during a dental cleaning.
- Anxiety or fear: Some patients may experience heightened anxiety or fear about dental procedures, which can make the experience of dental cleaning more uncomfortable.
- Lack of anesthesia: If a patient is particularly sensitive or uncomfortable during a dental cleaning, their dentist may recommend using local anesthesia to numb the area and minimize pain.
If you are experiencing significant pain or discomfort during a dental cleaning, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist.
Does Teeth Cleaning Whiten Teeth?
Teeth cleaning can help remove surface stains and discoloration from the teeth, giving the appearance of a whiter and brighter smile. During a teeth cleaning, a dental hygienist or dentist will use specialized tools to remove plaque, tartar, and another buildup from the teeth and gum line. This can help to remove some of the stains and discoloration that can accumulate on the teeth over time, especially from habits like smoking or drinking coffee or tea.
However, it’s important to note that teeth cleaning is not the same as teeth whitening. Teeth cleaning can help to remove surface stains, but it does not change the natural color of the teeth or penetrate deeper into the tooth enamel to remove more stubborn stains. Patients may need to consider professional teeth whitening treatments or over-the-counter whitening products for more significant whitening results.
What to Expect Before Teeth Cleaning?
Patients can expect a thorough and personalized approach to their dental care before a teeth cleaning, focusing on identifying and addressing potential issues to promote optimal oral health.
This includes medical history review, X-rays, oral exam, discussion of treatment options, cleaning procedure, oral hygiene recommendations, and recommendations for maintaining good oral hygiene habits at home.
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