Dental cleanings done in the office are more thorough and intense than the cleanings you do for yourself in your home. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients see their dental health providers every six (6) months for dental cleaning.
What makes a cleaning at your dentist different from the kind of cleaning you do for yourself at home? Well, firstly, the cleansing is better able to get to areas that you could not normally reach on your own. The backs of rear teeth and areas just under the gum line are a good example of places you may not be able to reach on your own and may need to be handled with a professional cleaning.
Also, professional cleanings are deeper and more intense than what you will be able to do for yourself at home. Some areas of dental calculus, plaque or tartar may be too built up for you to handle effectively without professional help. Deep dental cleanings also help eliminate bacterial infections that are building up in between the gums and the tooth.
Cadena Family Dentistry prides itself on providing some of the most gentle, effective and thorough dental cleanings available. Our hygienists begin the process by checking the lymph nodes of the neck, all along the lower jaw, behind the ear and on the sides of the neck to see if any show signs of swelling. Swelling in these nodes may be a sign of infection that your hygienist may need to be aware of. These infections may be indicative of an area of concern in the mouth, an existing infection that may slow healing, or in some cases they may even signal an infection that may mean your cleaning will need to be postponed until it has cleared. The dental cleaning process sometimes creates small breaks in the gum line that may make an existing infection worse or cause a lesion if you are already sick.
Once the patient is determined to be healthy enough for a dental cleaning, we will begin by doing a dental scaling. The term “scaling” is just a fancy way of saying that the hygienist is going to use a tool – or maybe several – to gently go over the surface of the teeth and rub away tartar that has built up on and in between the teeth.
After the scaling has been completed, the teeth are polished across the insides outsides and the bite surfaces with a polishing paste. This paste cleans the teeth and removes many of the surface stains like those caused by coffee, tea, tobacco and food colorings. This polishing is done with a tool that many patients may mistake for a drill, but is something closer to a buffer or a spinning toothbrush.
Once the polishing is done, the hygienist will floss you to be sure to remove any particles left behind by the scaling and polishing process. This is also when the hygienist will be able to take note of whether there are any teeth that are too crowded, have calcium buildup or have been altered with a filling in a way that would prevent floss from being used in between them. If there are, you may have further treatments recommended to clear that space.
After flossing, the deeper fissures and spots are cleaned using a spray-style cleaner. Finally, fluoride and whitening treatments may be applied as needed and recommended.