Dental Cleaning

What is a full dental cleaning?

Dental cleanings are key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. During a dental cleaning, a dentist or dental hygienist will remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup from your teeth surfaces. They may also perform other preventive services during the same visit, such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments.

If you have dental fears or anxieties, talk to your dentist. Many providers offer sedation dentistry options to help you stay comfortable and relaxed during your visit.

Types of dental cleanings

There are different types of dental cleanings, based on your needs. But all have the same end goal — to remove harmful bacteria and reduce your risk for dental issues.

Prophylaxis. This is a routine, preventive cleaning for people who have healthy teeth and gums overall. It’s the most common type of dental cleaning. 

Gross debridement. People who haven’t been to the dentist in over a year, or who have extensive plaque buildup, can benefit from a gross debridement. It’s similar to a typical prophylaxis, but it may take longer. The main purpose of debridement is to determine if there are any issues that weren’t initially diagnosed before the dental cleaning.

Scaling and root planing. Also known as a deep dental cleaning, scaling and root planing reaches deep beneath your gum line to flush out bacteria and hardened tartar (calculus) around your teeth roots. Dentists reserve this procedure for those with mild to moderate periodontitis (gum disease). People who undergo scaling and root planing receive local anesthesia to numb their gums during the procedure.

How often should you get a dental cleaning?

According to the American Dental Association, people should schedule teeth cleanings at regular intervals recommended by their dentist. For many people, this will be every six months. But that could change based on your unique oral health needs.

How long does a dental cleaning take?

On average, routine dental cleanings take between 30 minutes and an hour. If you’re undergoing debridement or scaling and root planing, it could take longer.

Risks / Benefits

What are the advantages of regular dental cleanings?

Routine dental cleanings offer a number of benefits, including:

Reduced risk of serious oral health issues, like cavities and gum disease.

Improved whole-body health. For years, healthcare providers have recognized the link between oral health and whole-body health. Routine teeth cleanings can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and dementia.

Bad breath prevention. Hardened plaque and tartar can cause bad breath. Routine cleanings can help keep halitosis at bay by removing harmful microbes (microorganisms that cause disease) from your teeth surfaces.

Reduced cost. Preventive dental care, such as dental cleanings, help stop issues before they start. This can save you a lot of time, worry and money in the long run.

What are the risks or complications of routine dental cleanings?

Dental cleanings are safe and effective. While there aren’t any risks or complications, you may experience some temporary side effects, such as teeth sensitivity or sore gums.

To manage discomfort, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen. Tenderness should go away in a few days.

Recovery and Outlook

Are dental cleanings worth it?

Dental cleanings are a necessary part of oral healthcare. Preventive treatments are much more affordable than restorative treatments like fillings, crowns or bridges. Teeth cleanings reduce your risk for common oral health issues. This means they can actually help you save money overall.

Who needs more frequent dental cleanings?

Twice-yearly appointments work well for most people. However, you may need more frequent dental cleanings if you have:

Gum disease.

Family members with a history of plaque build-up or cavities.

A weakened immune system.

Other illnesses or have been experiencing a lot of stress. (Some conditions can cause changes in your mouth.

Author
Bello Dental

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