Dental cleaning or ‘scaling’ is the most common procedure performed in dental offices and something you have likely had it done 1 - 2 times per year for most of your life. Although it is inconvenient for some, going to see your dentist is the most important thing you can do for your oral health. From maintaining a healthy smile to detecting gum diseases and plaque build-up your dentist will be able to help you keep cavities at bay and maintain a healthy mouth.
The main goal of any teeth cleaning appointment is to remove plaque, tartar, and calculus that becomes built up over time on the surface of your teeth. While the vast majority of teeth cleanings can be done in 20 - 30 minutes and with little discomfort, there are some more extreme forms of cleaning which we will discuss below.
If you are someone who takes care of their teeth and maintains the healthy habits of brushing and flossing every day, then this is likely the only level of cleaning you are going to experience. Your dentist will start by using a specialized hand tool with an attachment at the tip designed for cleaning individual teeth. The tool vibrates at high enough speeds to loosen up any plaque buildup on the surface of the teeth and allows it to be washed away with water. Standard cleanings will also involve the use of hand-held metal tools to clean hard to reach or sensitive areas.
When your gums become unhealthy, swollen, and painful than you may be in the early stages of what is called periodontitis. For deep cleaning, your dentist will use the same hand-held instrument mentioned above to loosen up the built-up calculus and expose the more advanced deposits that are sitting on the root of the tooth. Once those deposits are exposed, your dentist will use another set of specialized metal tools to gently clean them out. Your teeth will likely be very sensitive, so a local anesthetic may be used to ease any pain the cleaning may cause.
A surgical cleaning will only be necessary if the gum disease affecting your teeth is so advanced that the only way to break up and clean the deposits on the roots of the teeth would be to slice open the gums to expose the entire problem area. The advanced procedure will likely require an oral surgeon to come in and do the surgery, but someone with that level of proficiency will ensure that it’s done with care and will heal quickly.
Both children and adults should receive prophylactic teeth cleaning 2 times per year. Once your child reaches the age of 12 they are considered an “adult” in the dental world, and the procedure will change slightly. The difference for children and adults is tools they use and the fluoride treatments involved. At Ponderosa Smiles we are skilled in treating both adults and children.
If you are maintaining healthy habits by brushing and flossing daily, then you are already on the right track. Most patients think that by brushing for a longer period and flossing right before the appointment that they are in some way preparing for their cleaning. While more brushing and flossing is good, most of the build-up on and around your teeth can only be cleaned using specialized dental tools. Two other helpful things to remember are not to use teeth whitening strips right before the appointment and if you are sick or feel you may be getting sick go ahead and reschedule your appointment.
At Ponderosa Smiles we take dental hygiene seriously; we want your teeth to last you a lifetime. You can contact us today to schedule an appointment for you or your child. We work with most insurance companies and are happy to take on new clients. We understand that dental procedures can be inconvenient and/or unconformable to some people, if you have any special requests that we should know about do not hesitate to ask.