A dental cleaning is much more than a superficial removal of plaque and tartar. Also, the reasons for offering you a dental cleaning go far beyond cosmetic considerations. In the dental clinic the word ‘cleaning’ actually covers a range of treatments all designed to help you maintain good dental health. This article will cover the most used terms, explain what exactly is meant by them and discuss the benefits of regular dental cleanings?
A regular cleaning
A regular cleaning is the standard treatment when the gums and bone structure are healthy. A regular cleaning includes the removal of plaque, calculus and stain from the crown and root surfaces of your teeth. Superficial stains on the teeth can in most cases be effectively removed through regular cleaning and polishing. Not all people are equally prone to building up layers of calculus on their teeth. Your daily dental hygiene routines are a very important factor in this regard, but your diet and the chemical make-up of your saliva also plays a part. Calculus mostly builds up on the inside of your lower front teeth and on the outside of your upper molars, where your major saliva glands are situated. A regular cleaning will therefore often primarily be focused on these places.
A deep cleaning is offered when periodontal disease has resulted in loss of the bone that supports the teeth. During the oral examination your dentist will already have registered which teeth are in need of a deep cleaning. The reason that certain teeth need a deep cleaning is that the periodontal pocket which results from periodontitis is too deep to be kept clean through daily toothbrushing. It is therefore necessary to clean the pocket through professional cleaning in order to prevent the periodontal disease from worsening. Your dentist will normally charge extra for each tooth that needs a deep cleaning, since this requires extra time and effort.
Root planning is often combined with the dental cleaning and used in connection with periodontitis. It is a specific treatment that removes the roughened cementum and surface dentin on the root. A root surface which is not smooth is especially receptive to build-ups of calculus, microorganisms and their toxins. A root surface that needs root planning can be visible in your mouth, because your gum has receded or it can be ‘hidden’ in the periodontal pocket in the case of periodontal disease. The crown of the tooth is covered by enamel which is the hardest material in your body and thus offers a good protection against cavities. A root surface does not have this kind of protection and root surfaces that are visible in the mouth are at greater risk of developing cavities – especially if the surface is not smooth. A professional cleaning and root planning is therefore especially beneficial in this case.
Your dentist or dental hygienist should keep you updated on your periodontal status and discuss with you, what kind of cleaning is necessary in your case. It should also be possible to give you an idea of the price of the cleaning before treatment is started.