Regular dental cleanings are an essential part of maintaining good oral health. However, not all cleanings are created equal. There are different dental cleanings, each with its specific purpose and benefits.
To help you understand which treatment you may need here's some information about each type:
Prophylactic dental cleanings are a preventive measure that removes plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth and gums. A prophylactic cleaning, or routine cleaning, is the most common type of dental cleaning. A preventive cleaning is typically recommended twice yearly for most people with healthy teeth and gums.
During a prophylactic cleaning, the dental hygienist will use a scaler to remove any hardened plaque, known as tartar or calculus, from the teeth. They will also use a polishing tool and a gritty toothpaste to remove surface stains and give the teeth a smooth, polished finish. The cleaning is painless and takes less than an hour.
Your dentist may recommend a periodontal maintenance cleaning if you have gum disease. This type of cleaning is similar to prophylactic cleaning but is more extensive and frequently done. The goal of periodontal maintenance is to remove the bacteria and plaque that have accumulated below the gum line and around the roots of the teeth.
During a periodontal maintenance cleaning, the dental hygienist uses a scaler to remove tartar and bacteria from the teeth and roots. They may also use an ultrasonic scaler, which uses high-frequency vibrations to break up and remove stubborn deposits. The cleaning will take longer than a prophylactic cleaning and may require multiple appointments.
If you have advanced gum disease, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. Deep cleaning is a non-surgical procedure that involves cleaning the teeth below the gum line to remove bacteria and plaque.
The dental hygienist will use a scaler during deep cleaning, just like in a periodontal maintenance cleaning. However, they will also smooth out the roots of the teeth to remove any rough spots where bacteria will accumulate. Deep cleaning is typically done under local anesthesia, and it may require multiple appointments to complete.
Which Type of Cleaning Do You Need?
Determining which type of dental cleaning you need depends on your oral health needs. A prophylactic cleaning twice yearly is typically sufficient if you have healthy teeth and gums. However, if you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend periodontal maintenance or deep cleaning, depending on the severity of your condition.