You probably know that regular teeth cleanings are essential to good dental hygiene. Hygiene visits give you a great smile and prevents gum diseases and tooth decay, as experts say. But how regular is regular? 

How Often Should Teeth Cleanings Be Done? 

It depends. According to general guidelines, a cleaning visit should be done at least once every six months. For most patients, this works. However, there are people who are more prone to dental issues and may need to have their teeth seen and cleaned on a more frequent basis.

Types of Dental Cleanings

People have different types of teeth and dental conditions, and it just follows that dental cleanings are not one-size-fits-all procedures. There are four types of teeth cleaning and your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend which one should be performed based on your specific oral care needs.

1. Prophylaxis

Patients who regularly practice good oral hygiene and have an overall healthy mouth are usually recommended for prophylaxis cleaning. It’s a mostly routine type of cleaning that involves removing tartar and plaque buildup. The teeth will also be polished to remove stains.

2. Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing, also called deep cleaning, is often recommended for patients who have periodontal disease with the presence of active disease. The procedure involves removal of plaque and calculus stuck above and below the gumline. It focuses on removing the hard and soft deposits on root surfaces to achieve a glassy and smooth surface.

3. Gross Debridement

Sometimes we see a patient who hasn’t seen a dentist in years. The plaque and tartar buildup may have started to embed itself in and around the gums and between the teeth. The gum tissue may be extremely swollen and inflamed at this point and the dentist will recommend a debridement to be performed first before any exam or prophylaxis can be done.

Debridement often necessitates the use of a special instrument to break up the gross buildup of plaque and calculus. Once the calcified tartar and plaque are removed, the tooth and root surfaces will be scaled. 

4. Periodontal Maintenance

This procedure is similar to regular teeth cleaning with one main difference. Where routine cleanings are done as a preventive care, in periodontal maintenance, the cleaning is done to take care of existing oral health issues and maintain patients who have been through periodontal therapy such as Scaling and Root Planing. 

A periodontal maintenance usually involves a cleaning, localized scaling and root planing, and an examination of your gums. Pockets of your gums will also be examined for any sign of infection or inflammation. If your dental hygienist finds any infection, the area is often irrigated with an antimicrobial solution. 

Typical Costs

A standard teeth cleaning may cost anywhere between $75-200, depending on the location and dental office. Cleanings that may require additional services like dental x-rays or an exam by the dentist will cost more. Dental insurance companies typically cover 100% of the cost of a cleaning once or twice a year, but more frequently than that and you may be paying out of pocket.

Why Are Cleanings Important?

Professional dental cleanings are considered as the keystone of preventive dentistry. Those routine cleanings play an important role in keeping your gums and teeth healthy. And because cleanings involve a thorough examination of your oral cavity, signs of a potential dental problem are spotted and treated earlier. 

Several medical problems (and about 90% of systemic diseases, according to research) also have oral manifestations. In fact, dental care providers are often the first to detect a health problem during its early stages. 

Regular cleaning is vital to your oral and overall health.

If you would like to know more information about professional dental cleaning, call us at 541-708-6288 or come visit us at 727 N Main St in Ashland, OR.

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