Dental cleaning or teeth cleaning is an essential dental procedure which needs to be done for most of us at least once a year. A professional dental cleaning helps in preventing gum diseases, cavities as well as bad breath.
Even though we feel our teeth are clean but a visit to a dentist at least annually if not once in 6 months is very important as there might be deposits under your gums. These deposits are a source of infection and can not be removed by brushing or flossing.
Benefits of Dental Cleaning
- Prevents foul breath: When there is plaque and calculus (deposits), it attracts bacteria, and when bacteria is there, foul smell will be there. So, the first thing that should come to your mind when you have a foul smell in your mouth is deposits and cavities.
- Prevents cavities: Due to plaque build up and calculus, cavities can be there. This is because the bacteria gets attracted eating up all the enamel of the tooth and causing cavities. It could have been prevented if you would have gone for a regular check up and cleaning of teeth.
- Prevents periodontal diseases: Periodontal disease is when there is bleeding gums, Inflammation (Infection) of the gums, and therefore loose teeth. The dental cleaning removes all the plaque and calculus and prevents bacterial build up, this bacteria would be the cause of periodontal disease.
- Gives a sense of freshness: When you undergo a dental cleaning you feel fresh as the teeth are clean and all the deposits are gone.
- Gives you a brighter smile: The stains that are present on the surface of the teeth are removed during the scaling. Thus giving you a brighter smile.
How Long Does a Dental Cleaning Take?
A professional dental cleaning should not take more that 30 minutes, from start to finish.
If you go for polishing as well, it will take another 5 to 10 minutes. In most of the patients with mild to moderate deposits it is a single siting procedure.
But in some rare cases where severe deposits, covering almost the entire surface of the tooth or severe stains are present (like in chronic smokers), your dentist might take 2 to 3 visits to complete the treatment.
Steps of Dental Cleaning
- Dental Examination : A proper dental examination is first done when you visit a dentist. The dentist will examine all the teeth, take X- Rays if required and reach the diagnosis.
- Cleaning (Scaling) of teeth : A through professional scaling is done using electric scalers as well as manual scalers. The scaler is based on vibrations and water. The vibrations along with water will remove the deposits from the surface of the teeth.
- Polishing of teeth (if required) : The polishing of the teeth will leave your enamel surface to be glossy. Your dentist will buff the surface of the teeth ( the upper and lower front 6 teeth ).
Difference between Scaling and Bleaching (Tooth Whitening) of Teeth
Scaling or cleaning of teeth is done using a electric or hand scalers which removes the surface deposits over the teeth. It has no effect or does not cause any change in the color of the teeth. It is a routine dental procedure which needs to be done at least once every 6 months.
Bleaching or teeth whitening is a procedure used for whitening of teeth when you feel the color of your teeth is towards more yellowish side.
After effects of Dental Cleaning
- Gap between the teeth: When the deposits are removed, you will feel a gap between the teeth especially the lower front teeth when you touch it with your tongue. This gap is due to the accumulation of calculus which might have pushed the gums down. This gap will slowly be covered by the gums. You will be advised by your dentist to rinse with warm water with salt few times in a day.
- Mild sensitivity: Sometimes there can be sensitivity for a day or two after you get the scaling done. This is because the roots of your teeth are exposed after the deposits are removed in some cases. Your dentist might prescribe anti sensitivity toothpaste to you. Rinsing with warm water with salt also helps.
- Bleeding Gums: Bleeding gums is the cause of gingivitis. If you have gingivitis you will have bleeding while scaling, and very mild bleeding a day after that while brushing.
- Mobility in Teeth: Slight amount of mobility of teeth can be seen in few cases of severe periodontitis i.e where deposits are very much. But there is nothing to worry about this mild mobility as it will go on its own in a day or two.
Related: First Dental Visit Of My Child: When, Why and How?
How to check if you need a teeth cleaning?
- Foul Smell: If you have foul smell from your mouth or halitosis it is time to visit a dentist.
- Bleeding Gums: If you have bleeding gums while brushing, you need to visit a dentist and proper scaling might be required.
- Stains on Teeth: Stains on the surface of teeth can only be removed by scaling and not by brushing.
- Deposits: If it is just plaque you can remove it while brushing, but the hardened form of plaque is calculus and that can not be removed with brushing or flossing. A scaling is a must.
A routine dental examination is a must once every 6 months, even for children. Your doctor will check for any deposits, cavities, or anything that needs to be treated. This will help in solving your dental problem early and will prevent any invasive procedures that might be required if routine dental visit is ignored.
This blog provides general information about dental cleaning. The opinion and content on this blog is only for conversational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice pertaining to any particular individual. If the reader or any other person has a dental concern, he or she should consult with an appropriate licensed dentist.
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