Cleaning your teeth every day at home, while important, is only part of a successful routine. Visiting your dentist at least once a year may help ensure a healthy mouth. Your dentist will use professional tools to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up that you are generally unable to efficiently clean yourself. Combining regular brushing and flossing with an annual dentist’s office visit will not only give you a more confident smile, but it will also help protect you from tooth decay, tooth loss, and periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
Steps of cleaning
Scaling is often the first step in the teeth cleaning process. During scaling, your dental Hygienist will use a handheld tool to remove hard calculus from tooth surfaces. If the amount of calculus is minimal, a manual scaler will typically be used to remove deposits of tarter by simply scraping them off. For larger amounts of tarter, the dental Hygienist may use an ultrasonic scaler, which is an electronic scaler that removes larger pieces of tarter using a gentle vibration, coupled with a stream of water.
Tooth polishing consists of polishing the tooth surface with a prophy cup, a small, rubber motorized cup attached to an abrasive polishing compound. The main goal of polishing teeth is to make it more difficult for plaque to accumulate on the tooth surfaces, due to its new smooth texture. Polishing also gives the teeth a shiny, clean look, and can help remove any unsightly surface stains.
Once your teeth have been scaled and polished, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen the enamel, or outermost layer of teeth, which is crucial in resisting acid attacks that contribute to tooth decay. During a fluoride treatment, the dental Hygienist will apply the fluoride solution, which is usually a rinse.
Why do my gums bleed after a teeth cleaning?
If you have a lot of bacteria built up in your mouth, it can irritate your gums so that they become more sensitive and bleed more easily. This can happen after you visit your dental Hygienist for a teeth cleaning, because the dental Hygienist has to brush and touch instruments against your teeth and gums. This gum sensitivity may last for a day or two after a cleaning.