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Professional Teeth Cleanings

Regular professional teeth cleanings are essential, even if you maintain a diligent oral hygiene routine at home. These cleanings, performed by dental professionals, offer numerous benefits beyond just improving the appearance of your teeth.

Why is professional teeth cleaning necessary? Over time, a layer of plaque, a sticky film containing bacteria, accumulates on the surfaces of your teeth. Additionally, hard deposits called tartar or calculus can form, which are challenging to remove without specialized tools. When plaque and tartar are left untreated, they create an ideal environment for bacterial growth and multiplication. The acids produced by these bacteria contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. If left unchecked, these conditions can lead to inflammation, infection of the gums, and even impact overall health.

Dentists use the term "prophylaxis" to describe preventive procedures like tooth cleaning. The goal is to protect and guard against tooth decay and gum disease. During a professional cleaning, along with a routine dental examination, various oral health issues can be identified and addressed. It provides an opportunity to closely evaluate your oral health and identify any specific problems that may require attention. By regularly scheduling professional teeth cleanings, you can effectively control common dental problems and maintain optimal oral health.

The Professional Cleaning Procedure

Teeth cleaning is typically performed by a dental hygienist, who is a highly skilled technician trained specifically for this purpose. The cleaning procedure is customized to meet the individual needs of each patient, although there is a general pattern that is followed.

The first step in the cleaning process is an oral examination conducted by the dental hygienist. This evaluation helps assess the overall health of your oral tissues. Following the examination, the cleaning itself begins. Two common instruments used during the cleaning process are the ultrasonic scaler and curettes.

The ultrasonic scaler is a handheld tool with a small vibrating tip that operates at a high frequency. It is effective in breaking up hardened deposits like plaque and calculus without causing damage to the teeth. A constant stream of liquid, called lavage, is used to cool the tip and wash away debris.

Alternatively, some hygienists prefer to use curettes, which are curved and tapered hand-held instruments designed to fit around and between the teeth. These instruments are particularly useful for patients with sensitive teeth, as they provide a more comfortable cleaning experience.

Regardless of the instruments used, the dental hygienist applies moderate pressure to remove stubborn buildup and thoroughly clean the teeth. After the removal of plaque and calculus, the teeth are polished using a low-speed rotary brush with a soft rubber tip. A slightly gritty gel, similar to toothpaste, is applied to the teeth as the tip spins around, resulting in smooth and shiny teeth.

Professional teeth cleaning, performed by skilled dental hygienists, helps maintain oral health and prevents dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. It is an essential part of routine dental care.

A Requirement for Good Oral Health

Most dental cleanings are comfortable and painless, with some people even finding the experience enjoyable, especially when they see the impressive results. However, if it has been a while since your last cleaning, it may take a little time to readjust to the sensation. In case you experience any discomfort during the cleaning, your dental professional may be able to apply a topical numbing gel or administer another type of anesthetic to help alleviate it.

During the cleaning, if your gums are inflamed due to bacterial buildup, you may experience mild soreness or slight bleeding. This can often be prevented in the future through improved oral hygiene practices at home, such as better flossing techniques or using specific mouth rinses. It may also indicate the need for more frequent in-office cleanings. Regular maintenance through professional cleanings will not only help you avoid more extensive dental procedures in the future but also increase the likelihood of maintaining your natural teeth for a lifetime.

Remember, dental cleanings are an essential part of maintaining optimal oral health, preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.

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