What are dental cleanings (scale and polish) and why have them?
Dental cleanings involve removing the plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria film) and the tartar (calculus) deposits that have been 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. While this is a good thing, it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth which will eventually build up over time. Usually it is tooth coloured and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it also can vary from yellow -brown to black in colour.
If the calculus (tartar, as people like to call it) is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive next to the gums, and if it left more that 6-12 months is place it will start getting between the gum and the bone which might lead to gum recession and bone loss.
The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is basically to remove all theses plaques and tartars above and inside the gum and leaving the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them, allowing you to have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.
How are dental cleanings done?
Dr Yousif uses specialized instruments to gently remove these deposits without harming the teeth and then polishing them to finish with nice shinny and smooth teeth. The instruments which may be used during your cleaning, and what they feel like, are described below.
Commonly used first 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 device typically emits a humming or high pitched whistling sound. This may seem louder than it actually is because the sound may get amplified inside your head, just like when you put an electric toothbrush into your mouth.
The ultrasonic instrument tips are curved and rounded and are always kept in motion around the teeth. They are by no means sharp since their purpose is to knock tartar loose and not to cut into the teeth.
If you have not clean your teeth for many years, it can take some more time to remove the larger deposits that have hardened on your teeth, so your cleaning may take longer time than future cleanings. Imagine not cleaning a house for six months versus cleaning it every week. The six-month job is going to take longer than doing smaller weekly jobs.
Once all the surfaces are smooth, Dr Yousif will polish your teeth using one of the new technology which is called “ Prophy Jet “ that uses one of the safe and strong powder to take off all the strong and dark stains from your teeth. You will really surprise of the outcomes of using this instruments, although it is a little bit strong in pressure.
Is it going to be painful?
Most people find that cleanings are painless, and find the sensations described above – tickling vibrations, the cooling mist of water, and the feeling of pressure during “scraping & Polishing” – do not cause discomfort.
A lot of people even report that they enjoy cleanings and the lovely smooth feel of their teeth afterwards! There may be odd zingy sensations, but many people don’t mind as they only last a nanosecond.
Be sure to let Dr Yousif know if you find things are getting too uncomfortable for your liking, as he can recommend various options to make the cleaning more enjoyable.
Painful cleaning experiences can be caused by a number of things:
• Exposed dentine which can make cleanings unpleasant.
• Sore gum tissues
• Not cleaning for long time (as you will need more time and pressure).
In case you may have had painful cleaning experiences in the past, you can choose to be numbed. If you find the scaling a bit uncomfortable because the gum tissues (rather than the teeth themselves) are sensitive, topical numbing gels can be used.
While at our office, we make sure that you receive the highest level of service and ensure that our dental work is of the highest quality. To ensure that you maintain great oral health, this level of quality needs to extend into your personal oral hygiene routine. We can help you establish a dental hygiene routine that will keep your teeth healthy and white. If you have any questions about your current hygiene plan please ask us.
Remember even diamond needs cleaning and polishing !!!
Want to know more about Cleaning, polishing and Oral hygiene, Talk to us…