Professional teeth cleanings involve the removal of plaque and calculus. A thin layer of film that forms on the teeth is known as Plaque. It contains bacteria produced by the food and saliva. The bacteria in plaque, if left untreated, eats away at the enamel of the tooth and may cause tooth decay, inflammation of the gums, periodontitis (gum disease), and even tooth loss. This plaque converts into a harder substance and becomes calculus when left untreated. This forms on the teeth and on the gum just above the gumline. The calculus can only be removed by the teeth cleaning plaque removal process.
Professional cleanings may be done by a dentist or Registered Dental Hygienist (RDA). A Dental Assistant may also be present during your dental cleaning appointment. Dentists do not use any invasive tools such as drills during routine teeth cleaning. There is nothing to be nervous about for you. The treatment should only take around thirty minutes, and may include the following:
Scaling: Your memorial dentists or hygienists will use a dental scaler and other hand-held instruments to gently remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth. The deposits will be carefully scraped off of the teeth, and washed and suctioned away with an air-water syringe.
Polishing of tooth: During brushing or scaling, you can find unsightly stains and plaque that are not being removed. The dentist or RDA will likely use an ultrasonic instrument that moves continually in circular motions to remove the stains. This might cause a slight "tickling" sensation, but should not be uncomfortable. For suction of excess water and saliva, the air-water syringe will be used. The polishing may take longer than normal if there is a lot of tartar and plaque build-up. After the dental cleaning And polishing, the teeth will usually have a smooth, clean feeling.
Root planning: Root planning may be necessary if gums have either started to recede or if calculus has built up around the roots of the teeth. An ultrasonic instrument will be used to remove debris and plaque from the teeth much like scaling. This will provide a dental deep cleaning effect.
Application of fluoride: After the cleaning is complete, the dentist or RDA gives you a fluoride treatment. Fluoride foam or gel is applied topically to the teeth, usually for about thirty seconds. Sometimes it is given to the patient as a rinse, which the patient would swish around in their mouth like mouthwash and then spit out. The fluoride helps to strengthen and protect the teeth from cavities and decay. The dentist will ask you not to eat or drink anything immediately after the fluoride treatment has been applied.
It is a good idea to book an appointment for a professional dental cleaning every six months as a preventative measure. Plaque and tartar build-up will be carefully removed from your teeth, providing them with a deeper gum disease cleaning than just brushing and flossing. It will also give you an opportunity to touch base with your dentist about any oral health concerns you may have.