Professional Cleaning in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Charlbury Dental Practice
The Spendlove Centre, Enstone Road, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3PQ

Preventative Dentistry » professional cleaning

Professional cleaning involves the removal of stains, plaque and tartar that have accumulated on your teeth, tooth scaling to remove plaque below the gum line, and tooth polishing.

Even with careful and routine brushing and flossing of your teeth, tartar may develop and build up, especially in areas that are difficult for you to reach. It is important to remove this tartar periodically in order to maintain your oral health.

The professional cleaning of teeth is sometimes referred to as prophylaxis which means “to prevent beforehand” – in this case it helps prevent gum (periodontal) disease.

What are plaque and tartar?

Plaque is a mixture of bacteria, minerals and some food leftovers. Tartar is mineralized plaque; it is usually tooth coloured and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth but it can vary from brown to black in colour.

With time plaque hardens to form a build up of deposits on the teeth. The bacteria make the plaque stick, the minerals make it hard, and the longer plaque is left on the teeth, the harder it gets. After as little as 24 hours some plaque hardens into tartar and this will not come off with brushing or flossing.

Why is plaque harmful?

The bacterial toxins irritate the gums and cause inflammation, or gingivitis. If this is left untreated it can progress to bone loss and periodontal disease.

What does teeth cleaning involve?

Your dental hygienist will use various instruments and devices (ultrasonic cleaner, air jet and diamond polisher) to loosen and remove the plaque deposits from your teeth. This plaque removal is called ‘debridement’.

Once all the surfaces are smooth your hygienist will polish your teeth and give them a thorough clean, using either a rotating brush and a prophylaxis paste (a special gritty toothpaste-like material) or a salt jet. Your teeth will then look cleaner and both your teeth and your mouth will feel much cleaner.

Is cleaning painful?

Most people find that the cleaning process is painless; you may feel tickling vibrations, the cooling mist of water, and the feeling of pressure during “scraping” but cleaning generally should not cause discomfort.

Sometimes people find scaling uncomfortable because their gum tissues are inflamed, and sometimes the teeth themselves may be sensitive. Topical numbing gels can be used to prevent this discomfort, or you may need a local anaesthetic. Your hygienist is qualified to give a local anaesthetic if one is needed.

How often should I have my teeth professionally cleaned?

Most dentists recommend having your teeth professionally cleaned every 6-12 months to reduce the chances of periodontal disease progressing. Your dentist will advise on the recommended interval for your particular needs. In between times good oral hygiene is essential to help prevent tartar build-up and gum disease.

What if I don’t have my teeth professionally cleaned for a while?

If tartar is allowed to build up around your gums and the roots of your teeth, this can require much more in-depth cleaning. This can be more uncomfortable and may require a local anaesthetic, especially if your gums are already sensitive or suffering from gum disease.

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