THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO TEETH CLEANING
Routine brushing and flossing are an important part of oral health. In addition to your daily routine, a regular visit to Willow Pass Dental Care in Concord, CA is an important part of caring for your mouth and keeping your teeth at their best. Our professional staff of dentists and hygienists provide you and your family with the care you and your teeth deserve. While the typical dental hygiene routine generally involves a brush and floss, a professional cleaning by a dentist is considerably more involved.
How We Clean Teeth at Willow Pass Dental Care
Willow Pass Dental Care is regarded as one of the leading dentists in Concord, CA. Dental cleaning at Willow Pass Dental Care is performed by specially-trained hygienists who work under the supervision of Dr. Reza Khazaie, who himself is a highly regarded and well-known Prosthodontist as well as owner of Willow Pass Dental Care.
While Dr. Khazaie will not be performing your dental cleaning directly, he along with other dentists on the team will be a part of your examination to ensure that your dental care and health is in good standing. If any abnormalities or cause for concern is discovered during the cleaning process, the hygienist will notify Dr. Khazaie or other dentists on the team for an additional review and official diagnosis.
About Our Teeth Cleaning Guide
The content in this teeth cleaning guide is not available anywhere else on the Internet. The content is written and produced by Dr. Reza Khazaie, DDS, founder of Willow Pass Dental Care, the #1 rated dentist in Concord, California
Dr. Reza Khazaie is a nationally known prosthodontist who is regarded as the smile expert. Dr. Khazaie is an expert on the specialized treatment of dental and facial problems that involve restoring missing teeth and jaw structures. He is a highly trained specialist in dental crowns, dental cosmetics, dental implants such as the All-On-4® treatment concept, bridges, dentures, implant-supported dentures, porcelain veneers, Ectodermal Dysplasia, TMJ/TMD, and many more dental procedures.
So if you're looking to learn as much as you can about teeth cleaning, you've come to the right place.
What You Should Know About Teeth Cleaning
What Happens During A Professional Teeth Cleaning? (Step-By-Step)
Every dentist will tell you that the three most crucial elements of a strong oral hygiene routine are as follows:
Brush twice per day
Floss at least once per day
See your Dentist at least once per year
Teeth cleanings go beyond the oral hygiene routines most people practice at home. Many forms of dental plaque, such as tartar and hardened calculus can’t be removed without a dentist who has the latest technology and dental tools at his or her disposal.
Furthermore, professional teeth cleaning does much more than give your teeth shine.
The teeth cleaning process gives the dentist and dental hygienist, an opportunity to examine your teeth and gums and identify any current or potential oral issues.
Teeth cleanings essentially provide you with the opportunity to take care of any needed maintenance and check for any oral diseases before they cause substantial harm or irreparable damage to your teeth and gums.
7 Steps of a Professional Dental Cleaning Procedure
A dental cleaning consists of seven distinct steps: a physical oral examination, diagnostic imaging, dental plaque removal, dental polish, flossing, fluoride varnish, and a post-procedural debrief. Let’s explore each step in more depth.
Before any teeth cleaning, scraping, polishing, and flossing can begin, the dentist or dental hygienist in charge of your cleaning session will start with a visual examination of your teeth and oral cavity. They will use a dental mirror to thoroughly examine each nook and cranny of your mouth. it will also provide the hygienist with an excellent visual of any potential problem areas such as open sores, bleeding gums, and damaged teeth. A dental professional will be able to tell right away if there are any dental concerns, such as chronic bruxism, periodontal disease, or the presence of dental caries.
After a visual examination, an x-ray may be in order. X-rays allow dentists to detect dental anomalies that aren’t visible to the naked eye or might be hidden beneath soft tissues such as the gums. Typically, the x-ray exam will begin with the hygienist placing a lead-lined vest over the patient’s chest to reduce gamma radiation exposure. The patient may be asked to bite down on a special x-ray “bite blocker” which is a type of mouthguard. X-ray images will be taken from a number of angles to create a composite image of the entire mouth.
After the physical and diagnostic imaging, it’s time to get down to teeth cleaning. The hygienist will utilize a suite of dental scalars and picks designed to aid in the removal of tartar and calculus. Hardened calculus, which is formed from the buildup of many layers of bacteria, is notoriously difficult to remove. For particularly tough patches of calculus, a hygienist may utilize an ultrasonic scaling tool to loosen and crush the calculus. This is where a professional teeth cleaning really shines.
Brushing and flossing, while effective, can’t remove all the dental plaque and hidden patches of tartar in your mouth. However, a skilled and experienced hygienist will know exactly where to look for hidden plaque and have the tools to remove it completely. This is particularly important for patients with severe gingivitis or periodontal disease. These patients will often benefit from more frequent “deep cleaning” teeth cleaning sessions.
Deep teeth cleaning procedures, also known as root planing, involves extending the dental plaque removal process using scalars to dental roots. Typically, this is not necessary or even recommended for patients with healthy gums as it involves lifting gum flaps to access dental roots. Instead, deep cleaning is recommended for periodontal patients who have developed gum pockets as a result of their periodontal disease.
When accessing the dental roots, the root surfaces are thoroughly debrided using periodontal scalers and curettes. Not only is plaque and hardened calculus eliminated, some cementum and dentin that has become infected may also be removed as well. This helps to re-establish a clean periodontium and control existing periodontal disease.
Once inspection and dental imaging are complete, the hygienist will begin to scrape away dental plaque, tartar, and hardened calculus with a professional tool known as a scalar. While you could theoretically purchase a scalar for personal use, it is much easier and more effective for an experienced hygienist to locate and remove all the dental plaque in your mouth than you can. Not only will a professional know where to look, but they also have much better access to every nook and cranny of your mouth.
After your teeth have been thoroughly scraped and debrided of plaque, tartar, and calculus, the hygienist will follow up with a dental polish. Prophylaxis paste, blend of abrasive polishing and cleaning agents containing sodium fluoride, is used to remove any remaining bacteria, surface stains, and give your teeth a fresh and brand new shine.
Unlike conventional at-home toothpaste which contains similar abrasives and other ingredients, clinical-grade prophy paste is much stronger and more effective at removing stubborn surface stains on your teeth. Furthermore, smoothing dental surfaces will also make it harder for bacteria to adhere to the surface of your enamel in the future.
Professional dental cleaning wouldn’t be complete without thorough flossing of all the spaces in between. This flossing component designed to remove plaque and bacteria from in between your teeth. If you suffer from sensitive gums or even bleeding gums during an expert floss, chances are you aren’t flossing nearly enough. Sensitive and bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis and most hygienists and dentists will make a note of this during the flossing portion.
After all the scraping, polishing, and flossing is complete, the final step is to apply a fluoride gel and finishing fluoride varnish to the surface of your teeth. This final concentrated fluoride application is designed to remineralize and protect your teeth.
Typically, the dental clinic will use a paste or gel-like substance in a mouth tray which will be placed in your mouth for a minute or two. Afterward, fluoride varnish is usually brushed onto the surfaces of your teeth. While the varnish itself often only adheres to dental surfaces for 6 to 8 hours after application, it is still an important finishing touch to any dental cleaning procedure. The concentrated fluoride application will help protect your teeth for many weeks after your dental cleaning procedure.
After the fluoride varnish has hardened, your cleaning procedure is complete. Some patients may be dismissed if the initial oral examination and x-rays did not reveal anything of concern. Other a quick debriefing session with the patient will be done to review and concerns and proposed treatment plans going forward.
What is Dental Plaque and Calculus?
Dental plaque is the film of bacteria, sometimes called a biofilm, that lives on your teeth. While nearly impossible to completely eliminate, bacteria can be controlled to minimize potential damage, decay, and discoloration. While routine brushing and flossing are often enough to control dental plaque on a daily basis, it is not a comprehensive solution. After all, sometimes as a result of poor brushing and flossing habits, forgetfulness, or a bad technique, you will miss a spot from time to time.
When plaque isn’t efficiently or adequately removed on a regular basis through meticulous care, tartar or dental calculus can form. Tartar, unlike dental plaque, isn’t quite so easily scrubbed away. Tartar is a plaque that has been hardened as a result of chemical processes in the mouth. Ironically, this process kills plaque-forming bacteria, leaving behind a rough and hardened surface that forms an ideal breeding ground for more plaque to build. Also unlike dental plaque, tartar can often only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.
Dentists and hygienists employ what is known as a scalar to deal with hardened plaque, tartar, and calculus. This handheld tool, which looks like a pen with metal hooks on one or both ends, is used to scrape tartar off of a patient’s teeth. Hygienists diligently scrape each tooth of any visible tartar leaving the teeth free of any damaging substances.
While many people claim to floss at home, most people simply aren’t flossing correctly or aren’t flossing nearly enough.
Studies show that only 4 of 10 Americans floss daily.
Twenty percent of Americans never bother flossing at all. Who can blame them? It can be difficult to hit all the nooks and crannies at just the right angles when you are flossing your own teeth. However, in the hands of a trained professional, a simple piece of floss is transformed into a powerful cleaning implement. The hygienist at Willow Pass Dental Care who is in charge of your cleaning will ensure that every one of your teeth receives a thorough, expert flossing.
For some with extreme neglect the process can be slightly irritating to your mouth, but overall it is an excellent indicator of the health of your gums and a good reminder to floss more often in the future to reduce the irritation to your gums in the dentist chair.
How Frequently Should You Have Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned?
There is some debate over the frequency which patients should have their teeth professionally cleaned. Generally speaking, the more cleanings, the better. However, many dental professionals recommend a minimum of one or two professional dental cleanings a year to reap the most preventative benefits.
However, as with many medical conditions, some mouths simply need to be professionally cleaned more frequently than others as a result of a variety of factors such as genetics, diet, and age. Patients who are older, have a sweet tooth, bad oral hygiene practices, a genetic predisposition towards weak saliva production, or a smoking habit, will benefit from more frequent and regular dental cleanings.
Do you need teeth cleaning? Schedule an appointment today with one of our trained hygienists by calling Willow Pass Dental Care in Concord, CA at 925-326-6114 or by clicking on the Schedule An Appointment button below.