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Dental Cleaning at Deer Park Dental
A dental cleaning starts with an overall evaluation of your health history to see if there are any contraindications to treatment at your visit. This can include blood pressure that is very high, medications that increase bleeding or undergoing treatments that can lead to a reduced immune system that can put you at risk. At times antibiotics are recommended one to two hours prior to dental treatment.
Your periodontal (gum) pockets are checked for signs of infection and bone loss. Appropriate x-rays are taken to check for cavities or evaluate for infection or complaint of pain. Once all these items are evaluated and you have a green light to go ahead with treatment, your cleaning begins.
Removal of plaque and stains from your teeth
Plaque, which is a sticky film that forms on your teeth, is full of bacteria which can cause bleeding and infection. The bacteria give off acids from breakdown of foods in our mouth which can lead to cavities. The plaque is removed and polished from your teeth. Stain is also removed from the teeth, scaled or polished, and instruction is given on how to best prevent stain and plaque from building up.
Teeth scaling process
Then teeth scaling is done to remove calculus or tarter from the teeth. Calculus is hardened plaque that attaches to the teeth. Live bacteria sit on the surface of the calculus and irritate the gums often causing bleeding or swelling of the gums. It can sometimes be easily removed. When calculus has been there for a long time, it is more imbedded in the tooth and harder to remove. Calculus can be removed with an ultrasonic scaler followed by hand scaling with special dental instruments designed for scaling. Some dental instruments are designed to remove calculus above the gumline. Other instruments are designed to carefully remove calculus below the gumline without traumatizing the gums. Sometimes topical or local anesthetic is required to remove the calculus from your teeth comfortably.
If the dentist determines that the amount of calculus and infection is greater than can be done in one or two cleanings, then you may be referred to a periodontist that will do more extensive cleaning (called root planning) so that the calculus and infection can be removed with local anesthetic.
Maintaining oral hygiene
Getting the foundation of your teeth healthy before doing major dental work is important so that your dental work has a better chance of lasting a long time. The dentist and dental hygienist will also work with you on your home care to help you keep your gum tissues healthy, which will help to prevent bone loss, more cavities and loss of teeth.
The difference between a Prophy and Periodontal Maintenance
A Prophy is generally for a child or adult that has minimal amount of bone loss, infection and calculus buildup. This is most often done every 6 months, but some patients with good oral hygiene and minimal buildup can go longer.
Periodontal maintenance is where a patient is recommended to come in generally every 3-4 months for a dental cleaning. This more frequent cleaning is needed due to the amount of calculus buildup, pocket depth, bone loss and or infection and the patient’s immune system response as well as their home care. A person’s ability to clean around their teeth, floss, and use other periodontal aids is very critical in the assessment of how often they should come in for a cleaning. Each patient is different and treatment recommendations are individualized.