Different Cleaning Options for Your Teeth
Dental cleanings have come a long way in the last decades. In fact, today there are multiple types of teeth cleanings. Understanding what they are and how they work can help ensure you get the proper treatment.
Getting your teeth cleaned once or several times a year can help keep your gums healthy and prevent cavities. This type of cleaning is routine maintenance.
Typically, a dental hygienist removes the plaque and stains from the surface of your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film on the teeth, formed by certain bacteria. However, proper dental care helps you stay healthy. Hygienists use special dental instruments to scrape off hardened plaque (also called tartar) in any areas where it has developed.
Deep cleaning, also called scaling and root planing, helps patients with gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Pockets formed by gums pulling away from teeth
When plaque forms in the pockets, regular brushing won’t remove it. However, the real problem is that untreated gum disease can result in tooth and bone loss.
Deep cleaning involves two steps:
- Scaling. During scaling, your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar. Plaque and tartar can exist above and below the gum line. Scaling involves cleaning to the bottom of the pocket.
- Root planing. During root planing, you may be given a local anesthetic first. Your dentist smooths out your teeth roots so your gums will reattach to your teeth.
- It’s common for gums to feel sensitive for a few days, or maybe up to a week. In addition, some bleeding and swelling is also common.
While root planing addresses the root surfaces, gross debridement goes deeper. It goes beyond the root surfaces. Your dentist actually removes the hard and soft deposits from the root surfaces. Before the thick or dense deposits are gone, the dentist can’t check very well for decay, infections or gum disease. However, with the deposits gone, the dentist can examine your teeth more accurately.