A dental cleaning sounds fairly self-explanatory, right? Well, there may be more to it than you think. At Swanson Dental Group, we are passionate about our role as oral health professionals and providing our patients with a high-quality dental experience. We love helping our patients achieve healthy and beautiful smiles that last a lifetime, which is why we want to shed light on the different types of dental cleanings and dental services, their benefits, and what you can expect for your dental experience when you come to our Reno, NV office.
Benefits of Dentistry Services
Professional dental cleanings and quality dental care are needed to supplement the work you do at home with regular brushing and flossing. Although a good daily oral hygiene routine at home is vitally important to your oral health, plaque and tartar will build up on the teeth over time, leading to other dental issues such as gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay. Removing this tartar and bacteria from hard-to-reach areas is accomplished with specialized instruments by a trained dental professional. When plaque resides on teeth for long periods of time, it will calcify into bacterial colonies and begin to deteriorate the surrounding jaw bone. Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, is a disease in which there is a degree of bone loss around some or all teeth. Unfortunately, once the bone around teeth has been lost, it will not regenerate on its own. Here are a few reasons why you should consider regular dental cleanings:
- Plaque and tartar removal: Despite regular brushing and flossing, plaque can still accumulate on your teeth, hardening into tartar over time. Professional dental cleanings effectively remove plaque and tartar buildup, preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Prevention of cavities: Dental cleanings help in the early detection and treatment of cavities. Swanson Dental Group can identify areas of tooth decay and provide necessary interventions, such as dental fillings, to prevent further damage.
- Gum disease prevention: Plaque and tartar buildup not only affect your teeth but also your gums. If left untreated, they can lead to gum disease, causing gum inflammation, bleeding, and potential tooth loss. Regular dental cleanings help remove the bacteria that contribute to gum disease, reducing the risk and severity of gum-related issues.
- Fresher breath: Persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by various factors, including oral bacteria and decaying food particles. Professional teeth cleaning removes these sources of odor, leaving you with fresher breath and improved oral hygiene.
- Early detection of oral issues: During routine dental cleanings, we will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth. This allows us identify any potential oral health problems, such as oral cancer, gum disease, or abnormalities in the teeth or jaw. Early detection significantly increases the chances of successful dental treatment.
- Stain removal: Dental cleanings can help remove surface stains caused by consuming certain foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and red wine. While professional cleanings cannot whiten your teeth dramatically, they can enhance their appearance by eliminating superficial stains.
- Overall health benefits: Maintaining good oral health through regular dental cleanings has been linked to improved overall health. Studies have suggested that oral health issues, such as gum disease, may contribute to various systemic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. By keeping your teeth and gums healthy, you can potentially reduce the risk of these health issues.
Types of Dental Cleanings
Contrary to popular belief, not all dental cleanings are the same. Some patients regularly visit the dentist multiple times each year, while others have not been seen for many years. As such, the dental needs of one person to the next can be vastly different.
A prophylaxis (or prophy) is the type of cleaning that patients usually mean when they refer to a “regular” cleaning at a dentist office. A prophy cleaning is appropriate for patients that are in good oral health with no signs of gum disease or bone loss. Prophy cleanings are often suitable for those who practice good home care and who visit the dentist regularly. Prophylaxis quite literally means, “action taken to prevent disease”, so once evidence of gum disease and bone loss is present, a prophy is no longer an appropriate treatment. A prophy cleaning is a thorough removal of plaque and tartar around tooth surfaces and the gumline. This cleaning involves the use of hand scalers, ultrasonic scalers, teeth polishers, floss, and often a fluoride treatment. Annually, we will take gum measurements and/or x-rays to examine the health of your teeth and gums and ensure that we are identifying any issues early. To maintain optimal dental health and keep your teeth looking great, a prophy is recommended a minimum of every 6 months.
Scaling and root planing (SRP) is the type of cleaning that is needed when active gum disease is present. Often referred to as a “deep cleaning”, SRP normally involves the use of local anesthetics to numb our patients so we can comfortably and thoroughly clean below the gumline where bacteria reside. The purpose of SRP is to eliminate harmful bacteria that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing or prophy alone. When gum disease-causing bacteria is removed, we can stop the progression of gum disease and protect the remaining jaw bone from further damage. SRP also varies from a prophy in that it may require multiple visits to complete.
Another common type of dental cleaning is called periodontal maintenance. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are needed after a patient has undergone SRP for active gum disease and is now in the maintenance phase of treating the disease. Since there is no cure for gum disease, periodontal maintenance cleanings are used to suppress additional bone loss after it has occurred. Periodontal maintenance cleanings involve a thorough removal of plaque and tartar around tooth surfaces and below the gum line. Periodontal maintenance cleanings will often be required more frequently than prophy cleanings, to maintain bone levels and healthy teeth and gums.
Looking for the Best Dentist in Reno, Nevada?
If you are due for a dental cleaning, Dr. Swanson and his team in Reno, NV will happily take time to complete a thorough examination, answer any questions and determine which type of dental cleaning and dental services are most appropriate for you. Whether you are a returning patient or a new patient, you are welcome to reach out to us at 775-825-9225 to schedule an appointment with us at our South Reno, NV dentist office. If you have been shying away from the dentist office for some time, we are here for you! An exam and dental cleaning is a great first step towards getting your dental health and healthy smile back on track!