A moist and warm oral environment is very conducive for bacteria growth and it can manifest in a number of ways. Plaque is the film formed on your teeth by the bacteria colonies in your mouth. This plaque actually produces an acid that can damage your teeth and gums. If this plaque isn’t removed on time, the bacterial colonies calcify & they then mineralize into a very tough substance called tartar; this attracts even more bacteria.
Bacteria that are in an active, destructive state cause gum disease called gingivitis. If this condition isn’t addressed in time, it leads to periodontitis. This is a severe form of gum disease that attacks the bone which houses your teeth. This results in bone loss; eventually your teeth may even fall out as they don’t have a solid foundation to hold them down.
Types of Dental Cleanings
Regardless of how regular you are at maintaining your dental hygiene, plaque has a way of forming on the teeth over a period of time. It’s best to get your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist, at least twice a year. This helps prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Not many people are aware that there are different types of professional teeth cleanings, such as:
• Prophylaxis – This type of teeth cleaning removes the built-up plaque that you won’t be able to remove by regular brushing at home. This process includes tooth polishing. Based on new data, dentists now recommend that professional teeth cleaning should be done every 8-16 weeks
Tools Used: Fine hand instruments, ultrasonic scale, polishing cup and paste.
• Full Mouth Debridment – If your teeth haven’t been professionally cleaned for over a year, there is bound to be a very heavy build-up of tartar. If there is significant amount of calculus build-up in different areas of the mouth, your dentist will tell you that full mouth debriment is necessary.
Tools Used: Hand tools, a micro-ultrasonic scaler.
• Gingival Bacterial Reduction – In this professional cleaning, laser light is used to kill bacteria in the infected gum pockets in the mouth. This will be done in combination with the cleaning process used to treat gingivitis (Puffy, red and bleeding gums)
Tools Used: Ultrasonic scaler, laser light, fine hand instruments, a polishing cup and paste.
• Site specific laser therapy – There are times when the bacterial infection affects the gums as well as the bone that holds teeth in place. In this case, laser light will be used to attack the bacterial colonies that have formed deep within the gum pockets. This therapy is used when there is periodontal disease (slight to severe)
Tools Used: Fine hand instruments, micro-ultrasonic scaler, laser light.
• Periodontal maintenance – If you have been treated for periodontal disease, you will have to go in for specialized, professional teeth cleaning every 8/10/12 weeks.
Tools used: Fine hand instruments, Micro-ultrasonic scaler, laser light, a polishing cup and paste.
As you can see, there are different types of professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist will ascertain the type of cleaning you require and the number of cleanings you will require per year. This will be based on the extent of plaque or tartar build-up and the present condition of your teeth and gums.