Routine dental cleanings are important to maintaining good oral hygiene. Professional cleaning by a hygienist can remove mineralized plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. It is recommended you go in for a cleaning once every six months.
How it's done
You can expect your dental cleaning to last between 30 minutes and an hour. Typically, a trained hygienist will do the cleaning, and a dentist may come in for an exam at the end. Most people find that dental cleanings are painless, and do not cause any discomfort.
There are two important steps to a dental cleaning. The first step is scaling the teeth, whereby the hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. This can be performed by hand or with electric scalers depending on the hygienists preference.Typically, the hygienist will also clean the pockets of the gums to remove any plaque buildup there.
The second step is polishing to remove any final plaque and buff the teeth. Polishers generally have several different sized heads to clean hard to reach places.
Scaling & Root Planing (SRP)
Periodontal Disease (gum disease) is a bacterial infection in the gums surrounding the tooth, if left untreated it will spread to other teeth and eventually result in the loss of teeth.
When periodontal disease is detected, we may recommend the scaling and root planing procedure. Scaling and Root Planing (sometimes called deep cleaning or non-surgical periodontal therapy) is usually the first step in an ongoing process to stop the destruction of periodontal disease and to keep the disease under control.
How it's Done
Scaling and root planing is the process of smoothing out the root surfaces of the teeth by removing hard calculus deposits and debris from below the gums.
A licensed dental hygienist will perform the SRP using special hand instruments, an ultrasonic scaler, or a combination of both.
The time needed to complete SRP procedures depends on the severity of the disease, number of teeth effected, pocket depth, and amount of calculus present. Traditionally when the whole mouth needs SRP we will complete one side at a time. For most patients the SRP is done in two visits that are each about an hour long.
Your comfort is our top priority. While most patients find little to no discomfort during SRP, some people like to be numb for this procedure. Your doctor or hygienist will discuss your numbing options.
The dentist may recommend taking further action directly after the deep cleaning is finished. He may recommend placing antibiotics directly into deeper pockets (placed by your dentist or hygienist), or an antibacterial mouthwash to be used at home.
The dentist will determine when you should return for periodontal maintenance therapy. Typically, the first maintenance visit will be somewhere between 2-4 months following scaling and root planing.