Professional Teeth Cleanings

Professional teeth cleaning.Even if you brush and floss your teeth faithfully, it is important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. (Of course, if you aren't quite so meticulous about your oral hygiene, it's even more important!) After a thorough cleaning, your teeth will feel smooth and squeaky-clean, and they will probably look a lot brighter too. But professional teeth cleanings aren't done for looks alone.

Why do your teeth need this kind of attention? Essentially, it's because over time they tend to build up a layer of plaque (a sticky, bacteria-rich film) and hard deposits (called tartar, or calculus) that are very difficult to remove without special tools. When these deposits are allowed to remain on the tooth surfaces or below the gum line, they provide ideal conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply. The acids produced by some bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease; if left uncontrolled, this can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums, and possibly influence systemic (whole body) diseases.

Dentists have a special term for preventive procedures like tooth cleaning: prophylaxis, from the Greek word meaning to protect or guard against. In this case, the focus is on preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Performed in conjunction with a routine dental examination, a professional cleaning can go a long way toward controlling these two common maladies. While your teeth are being cleaned, it's also a good opportunity to take a close look at your oral health in general and check for a few specific problems.

The Professional Cleaning Procedure

Teeth cleaning is often performed by a dental hygienist — a highly trained technician who uses a special set of tools designed just for this purpose. Because everyone's teeth are a little different, your cleaning will be tailored to your particular needs. However, many cleanings follow a similar pattern.

First, the dental hygienist will do an oral examination to evaluate the health of your oral tissues. Then the cleaning will take place using either an ultrasonic scaler or metal instruments referred to as curettes to remove the plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. The ultrasonic scaler is a hand-held tool with a tiny tip that vibrates at a very high frequency. Hardened deposits are broken up by the rapid movement of the tip, which does not damage the tooth. A constant stream of liquid (called lavage) serves to cool the tip and aid in plaque removal; at the same time, it also washes away the debris.

Some hygienists prefer curettes, which are hand-held instruments that are curved and tapered to fit around and in between the teeth. If your teeth are sensitive, using hand-held instruments may be more comfortable for a professional cleaning. In the capable hands of a hygienist or dentist, it takes only moderate pressure to remove any stubborn buildup and scrub the teeth clean, regardless of which instruments are used.

Finally, your teeth are polished with a low-speed rotary brush fitted with a soft rubber tip. A slightly gritty, toothpaste-like gel is applied, and the tip spins around and polishes the teeth, making them smooth and shiny.

A Requirement for Good Oral Health

Most people don't feel any noticeable discomfort during dental cleanings; some even report they enjoy the experience — especially the dramatic results when it's done! If you haven't had a cleaning in a while, however, it may take you a few moments to get used to getting your teeth cleaned. If you experience any discomfort, however, it may be possible to apply a topical numbing gel or another type of anesthetic.

If your gums are irritated due to bacterial buildup, they may become sore or bleed slightly during the cleaning. It may be possible to prevent this from occuring in the future with oral hygiene measures you can perform at home (such as improved flossing techniques or special mouthrinses); it might also indicate that you need more frequent in-office cleanings. This type of regular maintenance will help you avoid more involved dental procedures down the road — and it will give you the best chance of keeping your teeth for life!

Related Article

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Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "The staff are always so accommodating and friendly, no waiting and very good and thorough dental work"
    Sherri W.
  • "I rated 10 on the question about referring a friend because I have done so. She went yesterday and I asked her about the experience and she was very pleased. No surprise here!! I have always felt that the people who help me, including Dr. Alpert, treat me and my dental health at a level of attention far above that required to simply do a job. They show a genuine concern about my welfare; I need their help; I am glad they are there. As Dr. Alpert said on my last visit about a potential issue, they will “keep an eye on it” for me. I find that vigilance genuinely re-assuring. Over the years I have have come to appreciate that re-assurance as a form of good medicine."
    Robert W.
  • "Very friendly staff! Dr. Alpert is a very good Dentist. I have been very happy with the quality work he has done on my teeth. I highly recommend him!"
    Martha L.
  • "I had a very good experience there, everyone was very friendly professional and good at what they do. I had a cleaning which was virtually pain free and 2 fillings done in one visit.
    I will be going back to this dentist and would recommend to anyone that I know."
    Harold H.
  • "I have been going to the Dental Care of Waterford for over 50 years. The receptionist(s) are eager to make you feel welcome and relaxed. Becky, the hygienist is caring and efficient.
    Dr. Lloyd Alpert does a thorough exam and addresses any concerns and asks if there is still problems.
    The staff is quick to respond to any concerns their patients have.
    I would highly recommend Dental Care of Waterford, MI."
    Barbara R.
  • "haven't had the ability to see a dentist in over 3 years due to Covid and loss of insurance. Now that i was able to seek dental care i was able to schedule an appointment within 3 days of calling to have a cracked filling taken care of... Staff is amazingly friendly and considerate of any needs and even asked if I had insurance just to make sure I could have X-rays done and not have to pay for my visit with one of my kidneys. Dr. Alpert is wonderful! Explained everything that he was about to do and how it might feel. completely painless and fast visit for a filling nonetheless. I definitely have found my new dental office and can actually say I look forward to my cleaning!"
    Kelly S.
  • "This was my first visit to Dr. Alpert's office. I was referred by a friend. Everyone was so nice and knowledgeable. I had the most thorough cleaning I think I've ever had. Everyone put you completely at ease. I highly recommend this dentist."
    Karen M.
  • "Ever been in a situation where you have a dental emergency and call about 20 dentist offices trying to get in? I have and Dr. Alpert's office was the only office to get me in within 24 hours. They were able to help me with my shattered tooth problem totally painlessly. Anytime I've been in for a cleaning, the wait has been minimal. The staff is friendly and professional. I'm in and out in no time. I would highly recommend Dr. Alpert to anyone in the area for last-minute needs and cleanings. His offer is a little hard to spot but it is right off M59 and there is ample parking"
    Alexandrea L.