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Some Common Dental Cleaning Procedures

Dentists and Dental Procedures
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Dental cleaning procedures are essential to the health of your teeth, gums, the soft and hard tissues of your jaw, and ultimately your entire oral cavity. Experts recommend that you have at least two professional dental cleanings per year to reduce your risk of gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities. In addition to proper oral hygiene that you should practice at home, professionals can perform many dental cleaning procedures to maximize the long- and short-term health of your teeth and gums.

Common Dental Cleaning Procedures

Dental Cleaning

When you have a professional perform a standard dental cleaning on your teeth and gums, he or she uses a series of instruments and devices to remove tartar—mineralized plaque—from your teeth and gums. Even with rigorous, thorough, and regular flossing and brushing, tartar can still build up in areas of your mouth where toothbrushes and dental floss cannot reach easily.


Scaling is part of a procedure called deep cleaning. The objective of tooth scaling is to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. Scaling can also remove stains from the surface of your teeth and is just as much of a preventative measure as it is a cleaning one. It involves a dentist or dental hygienist using either a metal pick or an ultrasonic device to blast food particles or bacteria from your teeth. Although there is little evidence to support the fact that preventive scaling reduces your chances of periodontal disease, scaling eliminates the environment where disease-causing bacteria can develop.

Tooth Polishing

Tooth polishing involves continuously rubbing a small rubber ball or cup over your teeth until they are smooth. Typically, a dentist or dental hygienist does this with the assistance of a mechanical, pneumatic device that is roughly one-third to half the size of the average tooth. Alternatively, an air-driven device that sprays tiny amounts of air and bits of sodium bicarbonate onto your teeth is also quite effective at polishing them. A dentist or dental hygienist usually polishes your teeth at the end of dental cleaning procedures. Tooth polishing makes your teeth smooth so they can resist the further buildup of plaque and tartar.

Dental cleaning procedures are necessary for the overall health of your teeth and gums. A dentist or dental hygienist can use many different types of tools and implements to clean your teeth of plaque and tartar that can lead to gingivitis, periodontal diseases, and a host of other tooth- and gum-related problems. You should have professional dental cleaning procedures done at least twice a year to ensure maximum efficacy and to reduce your risk of experiencing tooth pain and decay.

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