Teeth cleaning is normally performed by a dental hygienist. The procedure lasts anywhere from half an hour to an hour. It is extremely important for keeping the teeth and gums clean. Many people experience phobias and dental anxieties due to which they try to avoid the procedure altogether. However, doing so can prove harmful for your teeth. To ensure a stress-free experience, it is important to have a full understanding of what to expect.
The Teeth Cleaning Procedure
Although the exact cleaning procedures that might be used vary from dentist to dentist, a somewhat similar routine is followed by most dental hygienists. Here is what you should expect.
Depending on the dentist, they might have different preferences as when to take an X-ray. Many dentists like the one here at Dentist Fairbanks AK office will take X-rays as part of the teeth cleaning process if you haven’t been to a dentist recently
Teeth and Gum Examination
In order for the dentist or hygienist to conduct the cleaning process, an initial examination will be conducted using a small concave mirror to see if there are any signs of oral problems like dark spots on the teeth, tartar and plaque build up, or inflamed gums. It will allow the hygienist to know exactly what to do during the cleaning. However, the hygienist would need to inform the dentist in case a more thorough examination needs to be done due to more serious issues such as gum disease or cavities.
After the examination has been done, the hygienist would do the scaling using a scalar. It would enable the hygienist to remove any tartar and plaque between the teeth, near the gum line, and from the surface of the teeth. Either a manual or ultrasonic scalar would be used depending on how much build up is found. Unlike an ultrasonic scalar which uses water and gentle vibration for removing large deposits, a manual scalar can be somewhat painful as it feels like your teeth are being scraped off.
Polishing and Flossing
Once the scaling is done, the hygienist would move on to polishing. The teeth would be polished and if there are any stains, they would be removed using a handheld electric tool. A prophylaxis paste would also be used. A slow grinding motion on your teeth would be experienced by patients during this step. Then, the hygienist would floss the teeth to remove remaining plaque as well as the paste.
There are some dentists that include fluoride treatment. Patients would get to decide which flavour fluoride they want. It is a gel which is placed inside the mouthpiece and must be worn for a minute before it is removed.
Teeth Cleaning Methods
When it comes to teeth cleaning, there are three main methods that are used. They are mentioned below.
1. Prophylaxis Cleaning
Prophylaxis cleaning is also referred to as routine cleaning. It is performed when patients have a set of healthy teeth. The method is more of routine maintenance to ensure that oral health is best maintained. In most instances, a dental hygienist would perform the prophylaxis cleaning. The procedure involves the removal of plaque from the teeth. Although it is not administered on patients who have severely damaged teeth, it is still an amazing dental cleaning procedure which helps ensure that your teeth remain healthy.
2. Scaling and Root Planing
Commonly referred to as deep cleaning, scaling and root planing is administered to patients that have a higher risk of developing gum disease or those that already have gum disease. If excess plaque starts building up over time without properly being cleaned off, it would harden and become tartar. It can lead to gum disease or any other serious oral health complication. To clean off hardened plaque, scaling and root planing is vital. Patients who show signs of gum diseases such as loose teeth, swollen gums, or bleeding gums must undergo scaling and root planing.
3. Gross Debridement
Gross debridement is administered to determine whether there are any teeth issues which had been missed during the initial dental cleaning. It is performed by a dentist on patients who have not paid the dentist a visit for over a year and the surface of their teeth is filled with plaque. The procedure is performed by removing all plaque build-up from the gums and teeth. Generally, simple gross debridement is quite straightforward and barely takes any time. However, if debridement is performed on damaged teeth, it would take much longer.
Now that you know about the teeth cleaning procedure and its methods, you would be better prepared to visit the dentist. Remember, there is no excuse for avoiding a visit to the dentist every six months. It will end up costing you in the long-run.