05 Jan 2022

Why have a dental cleaning?

No matter how well you brush or floss your teeth every day, there are areas of your teeth that are very difficult to reach and where tartar builds up. That’s why you should have your dental cleaned once or twice a year.

It is a very beneficial treatment, if done regularly, to prevent diseases such as gingivitis or caries.

What is a dental cleaning?

It is a deep cleaning of your teeth to remove tartar build-up in the mouth. This treatment is performed by a dental hygienist in a clinic.

Types of dental cleaning

There are 2 ways of cleaning:

Simple or prophylaxis cleaning

Simple or prophylaxis dental cleaning is carried out when the gums are healthy, once a year or every 6 months, depending on the case.

The treatment lasts approximately 45 minutes.

The steps to follow in this type of cleaning are as follows:

  • Step 1 – Clean each tooth: Each tooth is cleaned tooth by tooth, front and back, removing tartar, bacterial plaque build-up and stains on the dentine with an ultrasound device called Cavitron. This device works with ultrasound and water, which causes the tartar to come off the tooth, which is quite hardened, leaving the surface clean. It even cleans slightly under the gum.
  • Step 2 – Clean between teeth: A special tape is run over the contact space between the teeth to polish them. This removes any tartar that may remain in this area. Finally, floss is used to remove any plaque that may remain between the teeth.
  • Step 3 – Removing stains and brightening: First, a brush and granulated paste are used to polish and remove stains or small stains. The next and last step is air flow (gentle pressurised air gun), which removes stains caused by coffee, tobacco or tea.

After these steps your teeth will be clean, smooth and shiny.

Deep tooth cleaning or scaling

This is done in patients with periodontal disease. That is, excessive tartar build-up on the teeth and under the gum, reaching down to the root of the tooth.

This happens after having let a long time pass without a simple dental cleaning or not having a good brushing habit at home.

It is very important to remove tartar to prevent periodontal disease from progressing, as this can lead to tooth loss.

Scaling or deep cleaning is done under local anaesthesia as the treatment is usually a little uncomfortable for the patient. It is performed with a small instrument called curettes. This instrument removes the tartar from under the gum and the root of the tooth.

It is usually performed in several sessions (2 or 4 depending on the patient) dividing the mouth into areas to be cleaned.

Care after a dental cleaning

How should I take care of my teeth after a dental cleaning? This is one of the most common questions asked by our patients, so here at Nart Dental Clinic we provide you with a series of recommendations for the proper care of your mouth after a dental cleaning:

Use toothpaste and mouthwashes suitable for sensitivity

After cleaning, the oral cavity is usually a little sensitive, as the dentine is more exposed when removing tartar. It is therefore normal to feel some pain or sensitivity with hot or cold drinks.

This sensitivity can last for about a week.

For this reason, it is ideal to use the right toothpaste and mouthwash to protect your teeth and gums from sensitivity and, with daily use, maintain good dental health.

Avoid eating for the next 60 minutes

It is recommended to wait between 30 and 60 minutes before eating or drinking to help preserve the effectiveness of the treatment.

Avoid certain foods

  • Sticky or hard foods

It is advisable to avoid sticky foods such as sweets or hard foods such as apples and nuts.

  • Acidic foods

After deep cleansing it is important to limit the consumption of acidic foods such as milk, sugar and alcohol. Very acidic drinks and foods have a pH that can affect the teeth.

Avoid tobacco use

Of course, smoking is contraindicated as with any treatment. After treatment, smoking can damage the enamel causing stains and halitosis. In addition, nicotine causes dryness and irritation of the oral mucous membranes, thus increasing the likelihood of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Neglecting daily hygiene

After cleaning or prophylaxis it is normal to feel the sensation of unparalleled cleanliness, but this does not mean that we should neglect our hygiene routine. In fact, it means quite the opposite. It is very important to maintain the results of the cleaning, using interproximal toothbrushes, dental floss and dental rinses.

Does it hurt to have my teeth cleaned?

Dental cleaning does not normally hurt, although it depends a lot on the state of the gums, the sensitivity and the accumulation of plaque and tartar of the patient. The more time that passes between cleanings, the more tartar can build up and the more discomfort the patient is likely to experience.

Does it whiten teeth?

No, teeth cleaning is not a whitening treatment, but it does remove stains from the teeth.

Can it be done at home?

No, because as we mentioned above, the tartar is quite hard and specialised instruments are required to remove it properly.

Does the treatment damage the enamel?

No. On the contrary, tooth cleaning protects the enamel from bacteria accumulated between the gum and the surface of the teeth.





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    Dr. Cosimo Galleti

    Dr. Cosimo Galleti is a specialist in Integrated Dentistry from the Universidad degli Studi di Messina (Italy). He has a master's degree in Integrated Dentistry in adults from the UB and is an associate professor at the UIC in the Department of Dentistry.


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