Dental cleanings are a prerequisite for sparkling and healthy teeth. With the passage of time, plaque and germs cause the build up of tartar around the teeth and the gum line. These look like calcium deposits and can often be mistaken for normal teeth. Only a keen dentist’s eye can identify and treat tartar. In some cases, the tartar takes the shape of brown or black discolouration on the teeth.
Dental cleanings also help to remove yellow stains on the teeth, which can mar your smile. If you ignore tartar for too long, you can develop a gum condition called as gingivitis, which leads to painful and bleeding gums. The purpose of cleaning and polishing is to leave the tooth surface shiny and well polished so that germs and plaque find it difficult to stick onto the teeth. Here are some of the popular dental cleaning methods.
Different Dental Cleaning Techniques
In this, a round or curved ultrasonic device is used to clean the teeth. The instrument uses ticklish vibration to knock off tough tartar, which has formed or developed around the teeth. This is accompanied by a cooling mist of water, which helps to rinse or wash off the accumulated debris. The device emits a loud whistling and humming sound, which can reverberate inside your head.
Essentially, it mimics the action of an electronic toothbrush. The device is made to rotate around the teeth. The procedure is not really painful. However, you can notify the doctor if the vibrations are too sharp or ticklish. The intensity of the instrument can then be reduced to suit your requirements.
Even with an ultrasonic instrument, proper cleaning can take up to an hour. You may also be asked to come for future sittings especially if the tartar is tough or difficult to remove. Ideally, you should get a cleaning done every six months to ensure that your teeth remain in good health.
Scaling and Curetting
This is a manual procedure, which is usually done after the larger deposits of tartar have been removed. In this, fine hand tools like a scale and a curette are used by the dentist to get rid of fine deposits that have been left on the teeth after ultrasonic cleaning.
These tools are again curved and shaped to manoeuvre easily on the surface of the tooth. The tartar is gently scraped off using minimal manual pressure without hurting the teeth and the gums. The gums and teeth are thereafter thoroughly inspected for a clean and smooth tooth surface.
Once the teeth are scaled, curetted and cleaned, the next step is to polish them to a shiny perfection. This is done with the help of a gritty toothpaste. The toothpaste is called as prophylaxis. The device used for polishing has a rotating end shaped in the form of a cup. This cups sits on the end to scrub and polish the surface of the tooth.
The paste is scooped into the cup and this device is then rotated on the surface of each tooth to make them squeaky clean and white. Polishing also helps to get rid of superficial stains that may have discoloured your teeth over a period of time.
Application of Fluoride
Polished teeth are naturally weakened as their surface is now devoid of plaque and bacteria. This can make the tooth a little sensitive especially if you eat or drink something. To prevent this, the doctor applies a fluoride paste on the teeth. It comes in several flavours like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry but be warned that the paste is not to be swallowed a sit can give you a severe tummy ache.
The paste is placed into flexible foam trays and these are then put on the teeth for a few minutes. You are told to not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after the paste has been applied. Once the toothpaste has been applied, patients are advised to spit out the toothpaste into the saliva ejector.
Laser Teeth Cleaning
In very severe cases of accumulated tartar deposit, the doctor may use specialized laser instruments to dislodge the tartar. This is of course painful and has to be done under anaesthesia. This treatment is also used when the dentist finds it difficult to dislodge the particles from inaccessible spots on the teeth.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Professional teeth cleaning is done on patients who suffer from gum disease or gingivitis due to the accumulation of tartar and other deposits on the gum line. Root planing is a popular procedure carried out for this purpose. In this hard tartar deposits called as calculus are removed from the teeth.
This procedure is done to prevent further progression of periodontal disease and also to keep the teeth clean and white. Professional teeth cleanings are highly standardized and specialized. In this, an initial check up will be done to ascertain the health and shape of your teeth. Several sessions of treatment will be conducted.
The equipment used is of highest quality. You also end up shelling out quite a bit of money to cover the costs but the end result is a set of beautiful, pearly white teeth. A number of celebrities go in for professional teeth cleanings to maintain their beautiful smiles. Specialized rinses are given to protect your teeth from dental decay and plaque build up. Local anaesthetic may be administered especially if the dentist is performing root planing closer to the gum line as this can be a painful and tedious process.
The cost of a professional deep cleaning is exorbitant and can cost several hundred dollars. Most insurance companies cover for the dental costs of these expensive cleanings. In several cases, patients cannot afford more than one deep tooth cleaning.
Despite the costs, a regular tooth cleaning can still be carried out using routine dental equipment to keep your teeth clean and free of debris. This is essential for good and sound oral hygiene that prevents cavities and caries from being formed around the teeth.