Dental cleaning or prophylaxis is one of the basic procedure when it comes to a dental check-up. Dental prophylaxis is performed by most dentists and it has several benefits. Though regular dental cleaning such as brushing and flossing can be done at home, a much elaborate cleaning process is carried out at a dentist’s office.
What are the various procedures involved in dental cleaning?
Removal of tartar: Tartar is hardened plaque, which looks dark in color and is hard to get rid of. When plaque isn’t removed regularly, it tends to harden over time. Tartar tends to firmly stick on to the surface of the teeth, thereby leaving a dark appearance on them. Tartar can be removed with the help of handheld scrapers. Also, ultrasonic sound waves are used to vibrate the tartar deposits, thereby breaking them.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky and nearly invisible layer of bacteria that is present on the teeth. When it isn’t removed regularly, the gums may end up getting infected. It is said that plaque and tartar are the main causes of periodontal disease. Plaque is removed either by hand scraping (scaling) or using an ultrasonic device.
Root planning: This is the process of removing the accumulated plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of the teeth. The hand-held scraper will be inserted between the root and the gums, and the plaque will be removed.
Tooth polishing and whitening: Polishing is the process of removing the plaque and tartar which hasn’t been removed by the earlier procedures. Whitening is a process of removing the stains from the surface of the teeth, with the help of a whitening gel, thereby making the teeth look whiter.
A comprehensive dental examination is necessary in order to provide the best oral treatment possible. It includes various tests and treatments which help determine the patient's overall health.
What does comprehensive dental examination involve?
Reviewing medical and dental health: A person's oral health directly affects the overall health, as an infection in the mouth could cause an imbalance in the functioning of the body. For example, a periodontal disease can lead to various health conditions. Hence, reviewing the previous oral and medical health is very important.
Examination of the oral x-rays: Oral x-rays are very helpful in determining various hidden issues in the mouth such as decaying of teeth, cysts, tumors, bone loss, minute cracks, etc. They also help provide a clear picture of the position of the teeth with respect to each other and also the jawbone. It helps in treating issues related to malocclusion as well.
Screening for oral cancer: Oral cancer is a major disease related to the mouth. The dentist carefully examines the gums, inner cheeks, tongue, throat, lips and other surrounding tissues in order to check for any signs of oral cancer.
Evaluating the gums: Gum related diseases are very common, and if left untreated, often lead to severe consequences. The gums and the surrounding tissues are checked for signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Checking for tooth decay: Cavities are usually caused due to the accumulation of plaque on the surface of the teeth. The enamel will eventually be destroyed, exposing the inner nerves and pulp to microbes. The dentist checks for any cavities visually, and if required, with the help of an x-ray.
Examining the existing restorations: Restorations include any type of fillings, crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, veneers, etc. The dentist checks if any damage has been caused to them and if they've experienced any wear.