Teeth cleaning, scale and clean or tooth washing are all the same terms for a form of treatment where a dental professional removes the buildup of hardened plaque and bacteria off the teeth around the gum line.
This hardened plaque, also known as calculus, naturally forms in the mouth from the mixture of soft plaque, bacteria and saliva mixed over time and settling onto the tooth.
- Gum inflammation – also known as gingivitis
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Sore gums
- Yellow rough patches over teeth
- Gum disease – periodontitis
With the removal of calculus or plaque build up the gums and teeth will have a better environment to remain healthy, paired with good oral hygiene practices at home to help maintain.
We recommend our patients to see us at least every 6 months to help maintain their oral health with these appointments as we find that these appointments are very good for us to monitor their general oral health and control this bacterial calculus.
With most teeth cleaning Sydney appointments, Hornsby Dental also pairs teeth cleaning with an examination so that if there are any dental issues, you will be informed immediately. A gum check will also be carried out to help assess for gum inflammation and its severity. After these assessments, teeth cleaning will be carried out with an ultrasonic scaler.
This is a form of mechanical cleaning where the instrument uses high frequency vibrations to tap against the hardened plaque and calculus, washing and breaking them off the tooth surface without harming the tooth underneath.
Not only does it remove the plaque and bacteria that has been growing on the tooth but also flushes the area with water and oxygen, clearing out the bacteria that causes more gum inflammation and bad breath.
By removing the bacteria filled calculus, it helps show your real smile underneath. After the cleaning, a gritty polish paste is also used to help smooth the surface area and remove any rough edges left by the bacteria-filled calculus and plaque.
Fluoride treatment is then performed to help the teeth that have been covered with the calculus as well as help prevent dental decay. Most patients will find that their smile will appear whiter, smoother and their gums will appear less red and lighter pink.
Our mouths are one of the most sensitive areas due to the large amount of nerve endings present. Teeth cleaning or tooth washing can cause some discomfort especially if the gums are very inflamed or if it is your first visit in a while as our teeth and gums can feel the vibrations emitted from the instrument.
Your Dentist and Oral Health therapist during this appointment does not intend to cause this discomfort and hence will help guide you through the appointment with a post treatment management plan for you after the clean.
This could involve using sensitivity toothpaste after the visit, salt water rinses to help the gums heal or having numbing cream during the appointment to lessen the discomfort.
If there is a lot of discomfort, please inform the dentist or oral health therapist during the appointment as we are happy to adapt and change our methods for your comfort.
With regular visits and good oral hygiene at home, teeth cleaning or tooth washing appointments will become easier and less uncomfortable.
Teeth cleaning benefits everyone not just with maintaining their gum health, but also acts as a good prevention for more severe and serious gum disease (periodontitis). Teeth cleaning is a form of maintenance appointment that allows us here at Hornsby Dental to also help you monitor and manage:
- Risks of severe gum disease
- Risks of dental decay
- Risks of cracked teeth or teeth wear
- Wear on existing fillings, crowns, and other dental works
With teeth cleaning, we also remove any external stains that may have attached itself on your teeth over time like cigarette stains, coffee stains and tea stains and help bring back your smile to its true colour.
The difference between teeth cleaning and deep cleaning lies with the reason why one is needed over the other.
Teeth cleaning is a general appointment where the ultrasonic scaler mechanically removes the calcified bacterial plaque that sits above the gum line. This is usually where they form and cause the gums to be inflamed.
This appointment does not require local anaesthetics and is done on a regular basis for most patients to help treat gingivitis, prevent gingivitis, and manage good oral health.
A deep clean or root planing is a form of cleaning treatment usually performed for patients where the calculus has grown downwards underneath the gums. Paired with this presentation is usually severe gum disease, known as periodontitis, as the calculus now introduces the bacteria to more sensitive structures underneath our gums that are slowly resorbing because of it.
These deep cleaning appointments will require local anaesthetics and more attentive treatments to treat the gums and regain your oral health.
Any deep cleaning will be planned with you and your dentist or oral therapist together as it requires more involvement.