Dental cleanings involve removing plaque and tartar deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect the teeth. If the tartar is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive next to the gums. The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care. It is recommended that a scale and clean should be done every 6 months to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
How is it done?
Ultrasonic Handpiece – Commonly used is an ultrasonic instrument which uses tickling vibrations to knock larger pieces of tartar loose. It also sprays a cooling mist of water while it works to wash away debris and keep the area at a proper temperature. The suction tip is used by the Dental Assistant to catch the water sprayed by the Ultrasonic Tip.
Polishing – Once all the surfaces are smooth, the Dentist will polish your teeth. Polishing is done using a slow speed handpiece with a soft rubber cup that spins on the end. Prophylaxis paste – a special gritty toothpaste – like material is scooped into the cup and spun around on the teeth to make them shiny smooth.
Fluoride – Fluoride gel is then placed into the mouth to swish around for at least 30 -60 seconds. Afterwards the patient is directed to spit as much out as possible. The fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth since the acids from bacteria in dental tartar and plaque will have weakened the surfaces. It is best not to eat, drink or rinse for 30 minutes after the fluoride has been applied.