There are two types of adult professional dental cleaning. One is dental prophy, or regular cleaning, and the second type is scaling and root planing, or deep cleaning.
Children’s dental cleanings are not done by using hand instruments along or under the gum line. The only thing that is used is the prophy paste with the gritty consistency and the rubber prophy cup that gets attached to a slow speed hand piece for stain removal. It is recommended that children receive fluoride treatments by using dental arch shaped trays. These trays get loaded with the fluoride and placed on the teeth for a few minutes.
Children are told not to eat, drink, or rinse for about 30 minutes after the application of the fluoride treatment to ensure the maximum effects of this material.
Professional dental cleaning removes plaque, tarter, and calculous, and polishes your teeth better than you could do at home on your own. The goal of dental cleaning is to provide the patients with plaque and tarter free teeth and reveal healthy, bright, and beautiful smiles.
Depending on the amount and location of plaque and calculous build up, there are two different types of dental cleaning: a regular cleaning (dental prophy) and a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing).
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?
A regular dental cleaning, or prophy, starts with the dentist or dental hygienist using scalers to remove plaque, tartar, and calculous build up from the teeth. In particular, they may concentrate on the areas along the gum line or between the teeth. This can be done manually with a metal hand scaling instrument or by using an ultrasonic instrument.
The next step is to polish the teeth with a prophy paste which can have different flavors, like mint, that is usually applied with a rubber cup attached to a slow speed hand piece. The prophy paste tends to have a gritty consistency, and it may have to sit on your teeth for a while to really penetrate the top layers of the teeth and promote cleanliness and stain removal. If the level of tartar and plaque accumulation is high, a general debridement may be done, followed by more hand instruments and polishing. Then, the hygienist will floss your teeth and let you rinse.
Finally, you may get a fluoride treatment. This usually involves biting into a set of trays with special fluoride in them. This sits on your teeth for a few minutes to promote health and strengthen your teeth structure by fighting the bacteria that promotes dental decay.
The second and more involved cleaning, or scaling and root planing, is recommended when patients have a lot of calculous build up under the gum line and inflammation of their gingiva or gums. In this case, hand scalers are used accordingly to be able to go under the gingiva and be able to rid the tooth or root surfaces of the teeth from any calculous build up under the gum line. The extent and classification of this type of cleaning is measured originally by using a perio probe instrument which is a thin and tall instrument, similar to a ruler, that can measure the level of the anchoring bone between the teeth to the to top the gingiva that holds the teeth.
Who Needs Dental Cleaning?
Both children and adults need dental cleaning on a regular basis, which is recommended twice annually. For patients with gum disease, or periodontitis, that require deep cleaning or scaling and root planing, they may need their maintenance visit every three to four months depending on the severity of their periodontitis.
Do you want a brighter smile? Are you concerned about potential or ongoing gum disease? Don’t wait. Call 404-400-0400 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today. At Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we are committed to helping your smile look great and be healthy.