What Goes Into a Teeth Cleaning?

Provided at your routine dental appointments, regular dental cleanings help you get and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Professional dental cleanings are essential even if you take good care of your teeth at home. 

What is a Dental Cleaning?

Also known as oral prophylaxis or periodontal cleaning, a professional dental cleaning is one of the best things you can do to prevent cavities and gum disease. Dental hygienists perform dental cleanings in a dentist’s office, using special tools and techniques to perform a deep cleaning.

Importance of Routine Teeth Cleaning

Brushing twice a day and flossing once daily are essential for good oral health, but they may not be enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Millions of bacteria live in the human mouth. While most bacteria are harmless, some can actually cause disease. Bacteria feed on the sugars in food and beverages. As they eat, they produce acid strong enough to erode the tooth enamel that protects teeth.

Brushing and flossing removes plaque, a sticky substance that coats your teeth. Left in place, plaque hardens into tartar that can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning. Tartar accumulates at the gum line, where it causes irritation and inflammation in gum tissue. Inflammation can cause the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth and form a pocket between the teeth and gums. Plaque and tartar can fill the pocket to introduce bacteria deep into the gums, and even into the tooth roots and jaw bone.

Periodontal cleanings can remove plaque and tartar before they cause dental health problems.

How Often Do I Need Periodontal Cleaning?

Most people benefit from a routine dental exam and cleaning once every six months, but every patient is different. A dentist may recommend a different schedule depending on the patient’s individual needs: someone who has gum disease, cavities or other oral health issues may need periodontal cleaning more often.

Benefits of Routine Dental Cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning can provide a wide variety of benefits, such as:

  • Healthy teeth and gums
  • Prevent cavities and tooth decay by removing plaque and tartar
  • Saving money and time - professional dental cleaning can stop tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems while they are in their early stages and easier/less expensive to address
  • Prevent other health issues associated with poor dental health, such as heart disease, dementia, and complications of diabetes
  • Fresher breath
  • A brighter smile

What Happens during Routine Dental Cleaning?

A routine dental cleaning usually takes about 30 minutes. There are no special preparations or recovery involved. 

The dental hygienist will examine your mouth and look for signs of cavities, gum disease and other oral health problems. They will also ask about your overall health, the medications you take, and other aspects of your health that may affect your dental cleaning.

Next, the dental hygienist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar, in procedures known as scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing tartar, while root planing smoothes the surface of the tooth to allow the gum to reattach to the tooth. While scaling and root planing is not painful, it can be uncomfortable for those who have severe tartar or gum disease.

The dental hygienist will floss between your teeth and gum line to help remove any leftover plaque. Finally, the dental hygienist may polish your teeth using an electric toothbrush and gritty past that removes plaque and stains, and makes your teeth smooth and shiny.

Your dental hygienist may finish your teeth cleaning by applying a fluoride treatment that helps prevent cavities. They may have you swish fluoridated rinse around in your mouth, or they may paint your teeth with a fluoride varnish or gel. 

Dental hygienists are a great source of information about oral health. They may provide you with tips to help keep your teeth clean with home care. They may review proper brushing and flossing techniques, for example, or help you determine which foods and drinks may promote the formation of plaque and tartar. 

Dental Instruments for Routine Cleaning

Dental hygienists use a number of dental instruments, such as mirrors, dental scalers, and ultrasonic scalers to clean teeth. Mirrors provide a view of the backs of your teeth and other hard-to-see areas of your mouth. Dental scalers are handheld metal tools featuring sharp, curved blades that make it easier to scrape plaque and tartar from teeth. Ultrasonic scalers do the same job, but use a vibrating tip rather than a metal blade to remove plaque and tartar.

How Much Does Routine Dental Cleaning Cost?

The average dental cleaning cost ranges from $125 to $170. Most insurance plans cover 100 percent of dental cleanings and other preventive dental care. Dental scaling and root planing may cost more. 

Where can I get a Routine Teeth Cleaning Near Me?

Las Cruces Dental Solutions offers teeth cleaning! As the go-to dentist in Las Cruces, we are the authority on all things dental care. Las Cruces Dental Solutions is a full-service dental practice with multiple doctors, so you always get the care you need for a healthy smile. For more information about teeth cleaning in Las Cruces, contact us today.

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We look forward to meeting you. Please Call (575) 527-4746 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.

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