What Is A Dental Cleaning?
A dental cleaning is the most common dental service among all other procedures at our practice in Edison, NJ, which incidentally is one of the cities in the US that boasts of its excellent local dental practice. Dental cleaning, which is also referred to as dental prophylaxis, is professional teeth cleaning that patients are required to have in order to maintain good dental health. If you are in need of teeth cleaning in Edison NJ and nearby areas, call Gentle Dental Care today to schedule an appointment.
Why Should I Schedule A Dental Cleaning?
Even when you brush and floss your teeth daily as recommended by your dentist or hygienist, you can benefit from professional cleanings.
Dental cleanings follow a thorough exam during which the dentist measures the depth of the pockets between your teeth and gums. This provides guidance on gum health and the nature of cleaning that would serve you the best. Patients with good oral health and no signs of gingivitis or gum disease receive dental cleanings that remove plaque and tartar, if needed, using special instruments. These preventive cleanings reduce the risk of dental problems developing before the next visit.
What Other Procedures Are Included In A Dental Cleaning?
The common procedures included in teeth cleaning at our office in Edison, NJ, are:
Tooth scaling and root planing (also called deep cleaning) are performed to extensively clean teeth that have been affected by tooth decay. This procedure removes hardened mineral deposits that lead to tooth decay and infections of the root pulps.
Your dentist or a periodontist (gum disease specialist) uses a device with a vibrating metal tip to chip off plaque and tartar buildup while a water spray flushes the area clean. Scaling removes plaque from below the gum line, where it has the potential to infect the roots and cause serious gum disease.
Meanwhile, root planing soothes the tip of the root and helps reattach the gum where it has begun to separate from the tooth.
The process sounds complex, but we are experts. You can expect comfortable, effective treatment from our team.
Tooth polishing smoothes and buffs the teeth’s outer surface (enamel). In addition to making it smooth and shiny, it can also help protect against tooth decay and reduce bad breath (halitosis). For many patients, the cosmetic effect of tooth polishing is their favorite part of dental cleaning.
We can polish the teeth using a smooth dental drill and a rubber cup, which is dipped in a polishing paste, or a type of blasting device called an air polisher that uses compressed air and power particles.
Tooth debridement, or full-mouth debridement (FMD), can eliminate severe plaque build-up and help combat its effects on your teeth and gums. To perform this procedure, we numb parts of your mouth using a local anesthetic. This ensures you will be fully comfortable throughout treatment. Then, we remove plaque and tartar on teeth using a hand-held device or ultrasonic tool that blasts away tough tartar deposits.
Debridement can create healthier-looking gums, lighten your teeth, and help eliminate the risk of cavities and gum disease. It is normal to have increased sensitivity following debridement, but this will resolve on its own within a day or two.
How Often Should I Have a Professional Teeth Cleaning?
It is recommended by dentists that a teeth cleaning is done about twice a year, but if you have an exceptional dental care routine, your dentist might recommend that you have it done only once a year.
What Are The Benefits Of A Dental Cleaning?
Each dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar, two forms of a biofilm that can accumulate on teeth, usually near the gum line. Plaque is invisible and is therefore difficult to completely remove with daily brushing and flossing alone. The dentist and dental hygienist are trained to use a special rotating “toothbrush” in a specific pattern that ensures every accessible surface of each tooth is cleaned. Although a person may see tartar buildup on a tooth or teeth, this hardened biofilm is not removable using a toothbrush and floss. The professional cleaning can dislodge the calculus and eliminate the bacteria that live in it. Ultimately, professional dental cleanings remove surface debris for a better looking smile, and remove the biofilms that increase the risk of cavities and gum disease.
What Can Happen If I Do Not Keep My Teeth Clean?
If you do not keep your teeth clean, plaque and tartar will form in the margins of your teeth and gums. These biofilms harbor bacteria that secrete an acidic product that also sticks to teeth and gum tissue. The acid in the mouth softens and creates holes, cavities, in teeth. It also degrades the gums, causing them to loosen, weaken, and pull away from teeth. Oral care is the foundation of a healthy, radiant smile. Without it, problems like cavities and infection are much more common.
The Teeth Cleaning Procedure
Our dental clinic in Edison NJ is equipped to perform not only the standard methods of teeth cleaning, but we also offer teeth cleaning services using state-of-the-art systems to make sure that our patients have the best care available to them.
First, your dentist will try to break off the larger pieces of tartar using an ultrasonic instrument that uses pulses or tickling vibrations to knock them loose while spraying a mist of water to wash away the debris and maintain the proper temperature in the area. This device will emit a whistling or humming sound, much like when you use an electric toothbrush. The pressure can be adjusted depending on the amount of tartar that you have on your teeth.
After removing the larger pieces of tartar, your dentist will then use fine hand tools called scalers and curettes to get the smaller tartar deposits and to make the tooth surface smooth by applying gentle pressure while scraping off the deposits. Once the tooth surface is smooth, a prophylactic paste is applied and will be spun around the surface of the teeth to make it smooth and shiny.
To finish the teeth cleaning procedure, your dentist will apply fluoride to your teeth to strengthen them because the acid from the bacteria that thrived in the tartar weakens the tooth surface.
These guys are the best. Always helpful and cooperative.”
– Karen F. 10-10-05
“Dr Hart and Staff- I was happy to hear that MY dental office received the award for the Best Dental Office. I knew that before the award- you are truly the BEST. I should know, you have been so very wonderful to me, keep up the good work.”
– Winnie B. 12-5-05
“Dr. Messer, I am very happy with the results you’ve achieved for me & thank you for all your time and patience to please me.”
– Jennie P. July-2005
Are Dental Cleanings Painful?
No. Your regular preventative dental cleaning involves the use of a special rotating cleaning instrument and a mildly abrasive toothpaste. Alert your provider if you have restorations like veneers, so they can alter your process to avoid scratches. After cleaning and polishing your teeth, your provider will floss, as well. None of the steps involved should be painful, even if you have mild inflammation in the gums. If you need a deep cleaning to remove plaque from periodontal pockets in between your teeth and gums, your provider will most likely administer a local anesthetic, much like the dentist would do if you needed a cavity. This numbs the area around the tooth so the use of instruments in the delicate gum area will not cause pain.
Can A Dental Cleaning Damage Your Teeth?
Anything but. You could think that when our hygienists are pushing with a dental pick on a particularly stubborn area of tartar that they could be damaging your tooth enamel. Actually, they’re simply creating a weak spot in the calcified tartar so that it then breaks off in pieces. Similarly, scraping a tooth with a wide area of tartar buildup doesn’t affect the enamel, it simply removes the tartar.
This is important, and reason enough not to worry about damaging your teeth. It takes about six months for plaque to turn to tartar in certain areas of your mouth. This is especially true on the inside of the lower front teeth. But if you don’t come in every six months, tartar can advance throughout your mouth and it will begin to push its way under your gums. That is the beginning of gum disease. There’s no way to remove tartar on your teeth except with a hygienist or dentist working on it during these cleanings.
Are My Dental Cleanings Covered By My Dental Insurance?
Any dental insurance worth its salt covers two professional cleanings and oral exams each year. This is because, as mentioned above, that’s about the time it takes for tartar to begin getting out of hand. Getting rid of it at that point is the ultimate in preventive care. Also, any decay we find after only six months is likely to require only a very small filling. If left for a year or two, that decay can enter the interior of the tooth. Now the tooth will require a root canal just to save it (not to mention to save you from the extreme nerve pain when the infection impacts the nerves inside your tooth!).
How Often Should I Receive A Professional Cleaning And Exam?
The American Dental Association recommends having these cleanings and exams every six months.
Are There Any Risks Involved With Dental Cleanings?
There aren’t any risks. As mentioned above, the only risk is not coming see us at Gentle Dental every six months. Oral hygiene is really one of those areas where you get out what you put in. If you spend two minutes brushing your teeth diligently twice daily, and about 30 seconds flossing that will preclude you from ever having to deal with most large-scale dental issues, things such as root canals, gum scaling and planing, possible tooth extraction, and placing dental implants or bridges. Good home hygiene and maintaining your regular professional cleaning and exam appointments is some of the best insurance you’ll ever find.
What Happens If I Skip My Professional Cleanings And Exams?
Many patients underestimate the importance of proper oral hygiene, and over 100 million Americans do not see their dentist at least once a year. Some do not even have an established history with a dentist who they can turn to when they need care.
Skipping dental cleanings is not merely about aesthetics. It can seriously increase the risk of oral health complications, such as weakened enamel, tooth decay, gum disease, periodontitis, and tooth loss.
Plaque Builds Up & Hardens
No one is able always to remove all of the plaque from their teeth, and tartar develops when plaque is left alone. As mentioned above, at the six-month period, most people need to have their tartar removed to stop the buildup. If left alone, plaque and tartar will push up under the gumline. At first, this irritates the gums, a condition known as gingivitis. As the irritation advances, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, pockets form, and bacteria have a field day. Now you have gum disease, and you don’t want to head down that path. It’s far easier and cheaper to simply see us every six months and keep a healthy mouth.
That’s your gums. Even if you’re lucky enough to not develop gum disease due to only occasional visits to the dentist, you’re likely to develop tooth decay. When the bacteria in plaque digest the carbohydrates in your mouth, they secrete acids that instantly attack the enamel on your teeth.
If you don’t get rid of the plaque, bacteria, and acids by brushing and flossing, they start a process known as demineralization, which leads to tooth decay. Decay first works on the enamel. If we spot this during regular cleaning and exam, we easily remove it and place a filling. Now, the decay is gone, and the tooth is fine. But if the decay penetrates the enamel, it enters the dentin and then the pulp of the tooth.
Once inside the tooth, the infection will start to inflame the nerves, creating serious pain. Now, the tooth is past the point of needing a filling: it needs a root canal to clean out the entire interior of the tooth to remove the bacteria and the infected nerve roots and tissue.
Both of these scenarios don’t happen in just six months. That’s why it’s wise to come in for your regular professional cleanings and exams with the team at Gentle Dental.
Skipping dental cleanings and exams can have consequences. For instance, the cost of your dental treatment can increase substantially. This is because oral health problems, such as cavities and tooth decay, can progress and require additional treatments like fillings, root canals, and dental crowns.
What Can I Do At Home To Maintain Clean Teeth?
The best steps you can take at home to maintain a healthy smile are to brush and floss. When you brush your teeth, do so for two full minutes, morning and night. After one of these sessions, floss your teeth. Depending on your oral health, your dentist may also advise you to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. It isn’t necessary to brush after every meal and snack, but it is beneficial to rinse your mouth after eating and to also sip on water throughout the day to continually wash away bacteria and debris that could otherwise accumulate around teeth and gums.
What Happens If a Cavity Is Found?
If a cavity is found during your examination, there are specific steps one of our professional dentists will take to treat it. First, they will thoroughly assess the cavity to determine how severe it is. Depending on the results of the X-rays, your dentist will discuss the best treatment methods.
If the cavity is mild, the dentist will most likely fill it. However, if the cavity has reached or is close to the pulp of your tooth, the dentist will have to perform a root canal. In the most extreme cases, a tooth extraction can be performed to treat a cavity. Before these procedures are performed, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to ensure you are comfortable.
These procedures are not generally performed on the same day as your cleaning. Instead, we will remove as much decay as we can before scheduling a return visit to treat the cavity.