A professional teeth cleaning treatment is an essential part of your regular preventive dental care plan. Usually, it is best to plan your visit with your regular checkup, so you only need to spend an hour or less in our dental office. When you practice good preventive dental care at home, these regular checkups and cleanings are often all you need to maintain strong teeth and gums, giving you the confidence of knowing your smile is healthy and well-maintained.
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Professional teeth cleaning is cost-effective and helps prevent dental disease. Regular brushing and flossing remove most dental plaque, but not all.Any plaque remaining will soon harden into tartar or calculus, a substance that is only removable during a professional dental cleaning. Plaque and calculus contain harmful bacteria that produce toxins, inflaming, and infecting your gums and increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Regularly removing these substances is essential for healthy teeth and gums. Professional teeth cleanings are the easiest way to help prevent serious diseases such as gum disease, a potentially serious disease that can lead to tooth loss and which can even affect your overall health. Advanced gum disease is increasingly connected with serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Most people with reasonable oral health and who do not have any ongoing dental problems will need their teeth cleaned professionally every six months. If you have any existing dental problems such as gum disease or have medical issues that increase your risk of dental disease, then we may recommend more frequent dental cleanings. For example, people with compromised immune systems find it harder to fight infection, so removing harmful substances like plaque and calculus helps protect their dental health and general health.
During your professional teeth cleaning, your hygienist will first assess the overall health of your mouth. They will often check the condition of your gums using a small instrument called a periodontal probe. The probe measures the gap between your teeth and gum tissue, which in healthy gums should be 3 mm or less. These measurements are carefully recorded and compared with your next visit. If the gap is larger than 3 mm around your teeth, this can indicate signs of infection. Your hygienist or dentist may recommend additional treatments to help remove the infection and to ensure the gums fit more snugly around your teeth.The hygienist uses special instruments to loosen the calculus on your teeth and gently remove it. It’s a process called scaling as we scrape or scale the calculus away. Once all the calculus is removed, we carefully polish your teeth. It’s quite pleasant having your teeth polished, not least because it removes some surface staining and gives them an extra sparkle. The hygienist will floss your teeth thoroughly to complete your treatment. Afterward, your teeth should feel super smooth and clean, and it is an excellent procedure for freshening breath.
If your mouth is generally healthy, and you have strong teeth and gums, your teeth cleaning treatment should create little or no discomfort. However, some people do have more sensitive gums or may have gums that are infected. When this is the case, we can always provide a numbing agent for increased comfort. You may need a local anesthetic if you require deep teeth cleaning.
A deep teeth cleaning is a process called scaling and root planing. While similar to an ordinary tooth cleaning, it also cleans any tooth roots exposed due to gum recession. Gums can recede if you brush your teeth too hard, literally wearing away the delicate tissue. However, gum recession often occurs because of gum infection or gum disease.When the gums pull away from the teeth and recede, it can create deep pockets or gaps between the teeth and gums, called periodontal pockets. These pockets provide the ideal environment for anaerobic (oxygen hating) bacteria to thrive, so gum disease soon worsens. A deep tooth cleaning removes these harmful bacteria from deep inside the periodontal pockets. Afterward, the gums can fight the infection more easily, so they begin to heal and fit more snugly around your teeth.
If needed, we can numb your gums before treatment. The hygienist or dentist will carefully remove all the calculus from your teeth and exposed tooth root surfaces. Next, these root surfaces are planed, a process to smooth them, so it is harder for bacteria to adhere. Root planing also makes it easier for the gums to reattach around the teeth.
Scaling and root planing may be an ongoing process to fight gum disease and as part of a periodontal care program.
Our dentists here at Gentle Dental can discuss all the regular or deep teeth cleaning options suitable for your situation and will explain the possible pros and cons of each choice. For more information about the deep teeth cleaning, contact Gentle Dental at (718) 461-0100.