Are you aware that there are actually three different types of dental cleanings? If you are like most patients, you are probably only getting the standard cleaning meant for those without any ongoing dental issues like gum disease. But if you actually develop this condition, or are at risk for developing it, you may need a different type of dental cleaning than what you are currently receiving.

Normal Dental Cleaning

Over time, it is normal to accumulate some degree of plaque on the teeth. This is a sticky substance found around the teeth and gum line that, if not removed, begins to cause gum tissue to become chronically inflamed and infected. The early stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis, which is reversible. We don’t want it to progress any further than that, however, because the next stage is periodontitis – an irreversible form of gum disease that can cause teeth to loosen and fall out.

A normal dental cleaning appointment provides your dental hygienist with a chance to remove any accumulated plaque and tartar from your teeth. Tartar is the hardened form of plaque. Your teeth may also receive good polishing at the close of this type of routine appointment.

Periodontal Maintenance

This type of dental cleaning is for those who have been treated for periodontal disease. It involves the removal of plaque and tartar from all areas where it is found. It is normally performed every three months or so to prevent further damage to the gums and bone.

If you need periodontal maintenance, scaling and root planing may also be needed to help minimize infection.

The goal of periodontal maintenance is to prevent the further progression of gum disease, which could threaten the loss of teeth. Locally applied antibiotics are sometimes used in conjunction with this type of dental cleaning.

Full Mouth Debridement

A full mouth debridement is the most extensive type of dental cleaning that you can receive from your dentist. It involves the thorough removal of plaque interfering with the dentist’s ability to complete a thorough oral examination.

This type of dental cleaning is necessary when a patient has gone a long time between cleanings, to remove accumulated plaque. This buildup of plaque is preventing your dentist from examining your teeth, mouth and gums.

Before a full mouth debridement, you may receive a local anesthetic. Your dentist or dental hygienist uses a special device that creates ultrasonic vibrations to loosen deposits of tartar. After they have been loosened, a scaler can be used to remove the tartar and clean under the gum line.

A full mouth debridement appointment normally takes about an hour to complete. It is normal to experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures for a couple of days after this type of dental.

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DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.