Dental cleanings

Our teeth are sensitive to the things we eat and drink, not to mention smoking. Over time, the enamel can become stained, while plaque begins to gather on the surface of the teeth. Unfortunately, plaque can also accumulate on the lateral sides, increasing the risk of cavities and other dental issues. Dentists recommend teeth cleaning procedures, which are performed every couple of months or one a year, depending on each patient. Thanks to modern treatment methods, the teeth cleaning procedure is simple and painless. If you are interested in discovering more information on the topic, just keep on reading. Knowing what happens during the actual procedure will definitely take some of the stress away.

What happens during a teeth cleaning procedure?

Most people are scared to visit their dentist for a teeth cleaning procedure. However, it is worth mentioning that such treatments only cause minimal discomfort. They are performed by dental hygienist and always begin with a physical examination of the oral cavity. A small mirror might be used to inspect both the teeth and gums for any kind of damage, including gingivitis. If major problems are detected, the dentist will be called, so as to give his/her stamp of approval for the procedure. Should you need other treatments, the cleaning will be delayed.

The main goal of the cleaning procedure is to remove the plaque and tartar accumulated on your teeth. Once again, the dental hygienist will use a small mirror to look at your teeth and perform the cleaning. He/she will work at the gum line, but also between the teeth. Scraping might lead to a bit of discomfort, but a local anesthetic can solve such issues. The more plaque you have, the longer the entire procedure is going to last. You might also receive advice on how to correctly brush and floss, so as to stop plaque from gathering on your teeth and turning into tartar. The latter can be removed only at the dentist, so good oral hygiene can help you quite a lot.

Once all the tartar has been removed from your teeth, the dental hygienist will use a high-powered electric brush for a deep-cleaning effect. A special toothpaste will be used, with a gritty texture, so as to remove any tartar that might have been left behind. Remember, this type of cleaning should only be done at the dentist, by a trained professional, twice per year. Inadequate or incorrect at-home cleaning procedures might cause the enamel to wear down, which will lead to additional dental issues.

As the next step, the dental hygienist will use floss to clean between your teeth and identify trouble spots. These are the spots where your gums might bleed, indicating the need for further dental treatments. This professional flossing will remove the leftover plaque, as well as the toothpaste that has been previously used. You will be asked to rinse your mouth with liquid fluoride, in order to eliminate any debris. Last, but not least, the hygienist will apply fluoride treatment. This has a protective effect, reducing the risk of cavities and other dental problems. Both the gel and varnish might be used to this purpose.

What are the different types of dental cleanings?

Did you know that there are different types of dental cleanings? Each of them serves its own purpose and it might be helpful to know how these differ, so you can choose the one that is right for you. Of course, both the dentist and the dental hygienist can explain these procedures in detail, guiding you in the right direction. The main dental cleaning procedures include prophylaxis cleaning, scaling and root planing, periodontal maintenance cleaning, and gross debridement. Even though the goal is the same for all of them, meaning cleaning one’s teeth, they differ in procedure and serve additional purposes.

Prophylaxis cleaning is also known as routine cleaning and it is recommended to be performed yearly, in order to maintain excellent oral health. As mentioned above, plaque and tartar are removed from the teeth, as well as any stains that might have formed on the surface of the teeth. If the teeth are badly damaged, dental treatments might be necessary first. For those with healthy teeth, this is a highly recommended procedure, which can help you prevent undesired problems. The prophylaxis cleaning should be done once every six months, to prevent the transformation of plaque into calculus.

Scaling and root planing refers to a deep cleaning procedure, which is recommended for patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease or are at risk of developing such problems. The excess accumulation of plaque can transform into tartar, which in turn will cause gum disease and other oral health issues. The hardened plaque can only be cleaned off with such procedures, in patients who are exhibiting signs of gum disease, such as loose teeth, swollen or bleeding gums.

If you are suffering from periodontitis, or gum disease, you might benefit from periodontal maintenance cleaning. This procedure is meant to treat gum disease and prevent potential complications. The hygienist will remove the excess buildup of plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum pockets, smoothing out the roots if necessary. As opposed to the other types of dental cleaning, this procedure is performed more often. If you are curious to know why, think about the fact that gum disease tends to worsen over time. Should no treatment be pursued, deep cleaning included, one might deal with receding gums and tooth loss.

Gross debridement is usually performed on patients who haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, exhibiting signs of hardened plaque on their teeth. This is different from a regular cleaning procedure, in the sense that it will be performed on potentially damaged teeth. Given the extensive tartar present in one’s mouth, it might take a while to be completed. After the respective procedure, the dentist might discuss the next dental treatments that need to be performed. You might also receive instructions on how to clean your teeth to prevent further damage.

How long does the dental cleaning procedure take?

The duration of the dental cleaning procedure depends on your oral health. If patients have teeth that are both healthy and clean, the actual cleaning should not take more than half an hour. However, if you have poor oral health, with cavities and tartar, you can expect for the procedure to take an hour to 90 minutes. The dental hygienist will work at a comfortable pace, making sure that you are always relaxed and comfortable. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain at any moment, be sure to let the hygienist know. The doctor might apply a local anesthetic to make the entire procedure bearable. Routine cleaning procedures are usually painless, as there is not a lot of plaque accumulated on the teeth.

How many dental cleanings per year are recommended?

We all know that professional teeth cleaning procedures can reduce the risk of both cavities and gum disease. However, you are probably wondering how often you should visit the dentist for a cleaning procedure. If you have excellent oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, you might consider going in for a cleaning every six months. Dental insurance policies cover two cleanings per year, so it might be good to take advantage of your plan.

Teeth cleaning procedures remove the accumulated plaque but also the bacteria responsible for such issues. However, in just one or two days, the bacteria will be back, ready to cause problems. Even with great dental care, plaque will continue to build up on the surface of your teeth. The longer it stays there, the more it will harden, developing into tartar. Once you have reached this point, you will have no other choice but to visit the dentist for a professional cleaning procedure. If you go for routine cleaning every six months, you will reduce the risk of tartar formation, as well as any potential severe oral health issues.

Visiting the dentist for a dental cleaning procedure might also help you to identify early signs of dental problems. While cleaning your teeth, the hygienist might identify new cavities or gum inflammation. More severe issues can be diagnosed, including oral cancer, receding gums, or anemia. Gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease, so you need to consider such risks, and go to the doctor for professional teeth cleaning. The sooner you will go, the better your health is going to be.

How much do dental cleaning procedures cost?

A regular teeth cleaning procedure varies between $75 and $200, depending on the actual dentist office and its location. In most cases, the dental hygienist is the one performing the procedure, with the dentist doing the initial examination. He/she might also review the X-rays, in order to determine the health of your teeth and gums. As mentioned above, most dental insurance policies cover at least two cleaning procedures per year, as part of the preventative care.

It can happen that you are recommended another type of teeth cleaning, such as scaling and root planing. The dentist will divide your mouth into quadrants, pointing to the actual sections in which deep cleaning is necessary. You can expect to pay between $100 and $450 for one section, while a complete procedure (for the entire mouth) will have a cost that varies between $500 and $4,000. The cost is influenced by several factors, including how much work is involved, the use of anesthetics, and potential antibiotic injections to help gums heal. Some dental insurance policies cover part of the cost of such procedures, so make sure to verify before scheduling the procedure.

As you have seen, the cost of dental cleaning is influenced by various factors. In some practices, the experience and training of the dentist determines the cost of the respective procedure. It might be a good idea to check out the local rates in your community, so as to make sure that you are getting a good price. If the dentist is more expensive, your insurance might not cover the full cost of the cleaning procedure. Also, keep in mind that deep cleaning will cost more than a routine procedure. You might need to calculate your budget accordingly, discussing the whole matter with your dentist.

Dental cleaning, the best preventative care

If you are still wondering about the importance of dental cleaning, just take a moment and think about your teeth. You need them to eat and talk, and simple habits can help you keep them healthy for as long as possible. Dental cleaning is vital for oral health, and it represents one of the top preventative measures you can take. Severe oral health issues require invasive, painful treatments, which are also time-consuming and stressful. Professional cleaning will compliment good oral hygiene, with the hygienist using special tools to perform a deep cleaning, which is not possible at home. However, this does not mean that regular brushing and flossing do not serve their purpose.

Teeth cleaning procedures can also help dentists identify serious oral health issues. Of course, these mostly refer to cavities and swollen gums, but we must not forget about gum disease or oral cancer. With the latter, early diagnosis offers the best prognosis, as treatment can be started right away, and the chances of complications are genuinely reduced. Remember to visit your dentist every six months for a routine dental cleaning procedure.

Dental cleaning procedures can help you keep your teeth healthy. At the same time, they reduce the risk of gum disease and other unwanted complications. As you have seen, routine cleaning procedures are painless and do not take more than 30 minutes. You can discuss the procedure with your dentist and inquire about your oral health. As any specialist will tell you, these procedures can help you prevent oral health issues, such as gum disease. Your insurance should cover at least two cleanings per year, so do not hesitate to call your dentist and set up an appointment right away.

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