It is widely known that you need to be visiting your dentist for a dental cleaning at least every six months so that your oral health is maintained, not to mention your impressive smile.

A dental cleaning is a routine part of proper oral hygiene. It combines with your cleaning efforts at home to give you your best chance of preventing periodontal disease that can threaten the loss of your teeth if it goes undiagnosed and untreated.

The purpose of a dental cleaning is to remove something called plaque and tartar from your teeth. Oral bacteria can form a sticky material that adheres to the surface of the teeth. Called plaque, this condition can lead to the breakdown of the gum tissue and bone that support your teeth. Plaque eventually develops into a hardened form called tartar. This substance is only removable by your dental hygienist at a dental cleaning using professional tools.

Normal Dental Cleaning

Your everyday variety dental cleaning is what most patients undergo when they visit their dentist. This just involves the removal of plaque and tartar from your teeth. Even though you may be regularly brushing and flossing at home, it is still possible to miss a few spots, allowing plaque to creep in.

So your dental hygienist will perform this preventive cleaning, and also use it as an opportunity to perform a visual examination of your mouth, teeth and gums to look for any problem signs. They will also polish your teeth for a smooth finish.

Periodontal Maintenance

If you currently have gum disease that has led to significant gum pockets or bone loss, a regular dental cleaning is not what is needed. You will need routine scaling to maintain the health of your gum and bone. Periodontal maintenance is also appropriate for those who have exposed root surfaces or have undergone root planing or periodontal surgery.

A periodontal maintenance appointment is when your dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar down the length of all affected teeth to where a connection is made between the bone, gum and root. The tooth roots may be smoothed if required, and your gum pocket depths will be measured. Inflamed gum pockets can also have antibacterial medications applied if needed.

Full Mouth Debridement

This type of cleaning is for severe cases involving the accumulation of plaque and tartar. It is sometimes needed before you can even have a normal dental exam because the condition prevents your dentist from checking for tooth decay and gingivitis.

If a patient has gone for a long period of time without a dental cleaning, plaque can fill the spaces between the teeth, leading to bleeding gums, bad breath, periodontal disease and bone loss.

A full mouth debridement will:

  • Remove dense plaque deposits from your teeth
  • Remove plaque from around the gum line
  • Typically performed prior to a normal cleaning
  • Take longer than a normal cleaning appointment

If you require a full mouth debridement, your dentist will normally apply topical anesthetic and use an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar. Using a handheld scaler, they will perform a scaling and

DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.