Teeth cleaning, or hygiene services, are an essential aspect of the routine dental visit. The goal of professional cleaning is to reinforce the oral care program that you maintain at home, in between visits with us. The reason that this twice-a-year service is recommended is that, even if you brush your teeth every morning and every night, and you floss daily, a certain amount of plaque will build up on and around teeth. Plaque is the precursor to tartar and gum disease, and it can be difficult to ensure adequate removal at home because one cannot see the sticky biofilm until it has hardened to tartar; and once this has happened, the hardened substance can only be eliminated with meticulous cleaning using precision technique and dental instruments.
What’s the Difference between Regular Teeth Cleaning, Deep Cleaning, and Periodontal Maintenance?
During a routine cleaning, the hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar that have accumulated, usually along the gum line. Teeth are then cleaned with a high-powered brush and toothpaste that is slightly abrasive. This can have a nice effect on surface stains. At the conclusion of a dental cleaning, the hygienist may apply topical fluoride or dental sealants to protect against tooth decay.
Deep cleanings are necessary when pockets of bacteria have developed below the gum line or around the teeth. The goal of deep cleaning is to remove plaque or tartar, along with the bacteria harbored in these substances. Once all debris has been moved away from tooth structure, the affected root surface is smoothed using a gentle technique. Due to deep cleanings address areas beneath the gum line, this service is performed with local anesthetic. Depending on the severity of inflammation and infection, topical antibiotics may be applied.
Periodontal maintenance is needed if gum disease has caused deep pockets (4mm or more), bone loss, exposed roots, or other conditions related to chronic infection. The purpose of periodontal maintenance is to remove the plaque and tartar that are causing inflammation within pockets around teeth. This removal process involves visible tooth surface as well as root surfaces to where the gums meet bone tissue. Areas of roughness are smoothed and pockets are irrigated with medicated solution. Periodontal maintenance may be needed every 3 to 4 months, depending on home care and other factors.
How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
The formal recommendation from the American Dental Association is that we brush our teeth twice a day. Brushing right before bed is optimal since there is ample opportunity for bacterial activity in the mouth during the several hours of sleep.
Teeth should be brushed gently, in small, circular motions. The toothbrush should be at a 45-degree angle, and the practice should continue for a full two minutes each time you brush. Before concluding, it is beneficial to brush the back of the tongue to remove bacteria that could cause bad breath.
Flossing should be performed on a daily basis. This oral care practice removes hidden plaque, debris, and bacteria from in between teeth.
Do I need to floss regularly?
To keep your teeth, you’ve got to clean your teeth. Studies indicate that all other factors being equal, people who floss daily have much lower instances of inflammation, cavities, and gum disease than folks who skip the floss.
How often should I have a professional teeth cleaning and examination?
We schedule recall visits on a six-month basis. Every six months, after your exam, you should have your teeth cleaned. That’s if you do not have active gum disease that has caused gum recession and periodontal pockets.
If you have moderate to severe periodontal disease and deep periodontal pockets, we may suggest that you come in for maintenance cleaning 3 to 4 times a year. This can prevent the progression of gum disease and potentially eliminate the need for gum surgery.
Do you have questions about the type of cleaning recommended for you?
If it has been some time since you’ve seen the hygienist, call O’Brien Dental Care. We can perform an examination of your teeth and discuss a recommended cleaning schedule based on your needs. Arrange your visit to our Shakopee, MN office in the Chaska area by calling (952) 445-6657.