- Dental cleaning involves the removal of plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease
- It is recommended to have dental cleanings twice a year
- Regular dental cleanings contribute to better oral hygiene and can prevent the development of severe dental problems
- Dental cleaning not only involves the teeth but also the assessment of gums and surrounding oral structures
- Dental cleanings can also sometimes help in the early detection of oral cancers
What Is a Dental Cleaning?
Dental cleaning, also known as teeth cleaning, is a preventive dental procedure aimed at maintaining oral hygiene by removing plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth. This procedure is crucial for preventing gum diseases, cavities, and other oral health issues. During dental cleaning, a dental hygienist or a dentist uses specialized tools to ensure that all surfaces of the teeth are thoroughly cleaned and polished.
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?
Dental cleanings usually involve several steps:
- Initial Examination: The dental hygienist will first perform an initial examination of your oral cavity using a small mirror to check around your teeth and gums for any signs of inflammation or other potential concerns.
- Removal of Tartar: Using specialized tools, the dental hygienist will then remove plaque and tartar buildup from the tooth surfaces. This process is known as scaling.
- Removal of Plaque: Using a sandblasting device (also called air abrasion), the dental hygenist will remove any existing discolorations from your teeth.
- Tooth Polishing: Once your teeth are free of tartar, they will be polished to remove surface stains and smooth the tooth. This is often done with a high-powered brush and a gritty toothpaste.
- Flossing: Next, the dental hygienist will use dental floss to make sure the areas between your teeth are clean.
- Rinsing: You will be asked to rinse your mouth to get rid of any debris that was loosened during the cleaning process.
- Fluoride Treatment: Sometimes, a fluoride treatment will be applied to the teeth to help fight against cavities.
- Dentist Examination: Finally, the dentist will come in for a final examination and provide recommendations for any additional treatments or procedures that may be necessary.
Health Benefits of a Dental Cleaning
Regular dental cleanings have several health benefits:
- Prevention of Gum Disease: By removing plaque and tartar, dental cleanings can prevent the onset of gum disease.
- Cavity Prevention: Regular cleanings remove plaque, which is the primary cause of tooth decay.
- Brighter Smile: Cleanings help to remove stains which lead to a brighter, whiter smile.
- Fresh Breath: Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent persistent bad breath.
- Early Detection of Dental Problems: Regular dental visits can help detect dental problems early before they become more serious.
- Boosts Overall Health: There is a link between oral health and overall health. Regular dental cleanings may help lower your risk for some diseases, like heart disease and stroke.
Routine Dental Cleaning vs. Deep Dental Cleaning
A routine dental cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth and the space between the teeth and gums. It’s what most people experience during their bi-annual dental visit.
Deep dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is a more intensive process. It’s usually recommended for individuals who have periodontal disease. This procedure is done to remove bacteria and tartar deposits from under the gumline and smooth the root surfaces to promote the reattachment of the gums to the teeth.
How Much Do Dental Cleanings Cost?
The cost of dental cleanings can vary based on several factors, including your geographic location, the dentist’s fees, and whether or not you have dental insurance. On average, the cost of a standard dental cleaning in the United States ranges from $75 to $200. However, if you have dental insurance, routine cleanings are often covered at 100%, meaning there may be no out-of-pocket cost for you.
What to Expect After a Dental Cleaning
After a dental cleaning, it is normal for your mouth to feel cleaner and for your teeth to look brighter. However, some people might experience slight discomfort or sensitivity after the procedure, especially if there was substantial tartar buildup or if they haven’t had a dental cleaning in a long time. The gums might be a little sore or bleed slightly. Any discomfort should subside within a day or two. If you experience prolonged pain or bleeding, it is important to contact your dentist.
What are Different Names of Dental Cleaning Appointment?
Dental cleaning appointments are sometimes referred to by different names, depending on the scope and purpose of the cleaning. Some common terms include:
- Routine Cleaning or Prophylaxis: A basic cleaning for patients with healthy gums.
- Scaling and Root Planing: A deep cleaning generally required for patients with gum disease.
- Periodontal Maintenance: Ongoing, specialized cleaning for patients who have been treated for gum disease.
Effectiveness of Prophylaxis Services
Prophylaxis, or regular dental cleanings, are highly effective in maintaining oral health. These services are essential for removing plaque and tartar that can’t be removed by regular brushing and flossing at home. Regular dental cleanings help prevent cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
Do Regular Dentist Visits Prevent Problems?
Yes, regular visits to the dentist can prevent many dental problems. During these visits, not only will your teeth be cleaned, but the dentist will also examine your mouth for any signs of issues such as cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Early detection of these issues is crucial in treating them before they progress.
How Often to Do Dental Prophylaxis
It is generally recommended to have a dental cleaning or prophylaxis every six months. However, depending on your oral health status, your dentist might recommend a different schedule. For example, patients with a history of periodontal disease might need to have dental cleanings more frequently.
Dental cleanings are an indispensable component of oral hygiene and general health. Regular cleanings and dental check-ups can prevent many dental issues and ensure that any problems are caught early when they are more manageable. While the cost of dental cleanings can vary, they are an investment in your health and well-being. Dental insurance can often mitigate the cost, making preventive care more accessible. Remember to adhere to your dentist’s recommendations for cleaning frequency and any follow-up care necessary to maintain a healthy smile.
This article is complete and was published on June 27, 2023, and last updated on August 26, 2023.