Most dental cleanings are performed by a dental hygienist. Before the actual cleaning process begins, they begin with a physical exam of the entire mouth. Scaling and root planing cleanings, also known as deep cleanings, are used on both teeth and gum pockets to treat gingivitis and periodontitis. Deep cleanings for gingivitis are usually done in a single dentist appointment.
Deep cleanings for periodontitis, on the other hand, may require several appointments and local anesthesia depending on severity. Scraping is the process that removes plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and from gum pockets below the gum line that form as a result of gum disease. This not only kills bacteria, but also helps reduce gum inflammation. Root planing is the process of smoothing the roots of the teeth, which helps the gums reattach to the teeth and eliminate pockets of the gums.
Prophylaxis is a routine dental cleaning performed every six months by a hygienist or dentist. This type of dental cleaning is provided to healthy patients to remove plaque and tartar accumulated above the gum line. As the name implies, deep dental cleanings provide your teeth with a deep clean, using special techniques to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria below the gum line and down to the roots of your teeth. Perio maintenance is a periodontal cleaning, which can be performed by a dental hygienist or a periodontist.
Usually, these cases are people who have difficulty maintaining an oral care routine or who have avoided going to the dentist for a significant amount of time. Both routine dental cleanings and deep cleanings play an important role in preventing infections and tooth loss caused by gum disease. Most dental patients only require prophylactic cleaning, especially if they have maintained daily dental hygiene and biannual dental appointments. To prevent bacterial populations from growing and causing dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, the American Dental Association recommends that people visit their local dental office once every six months for a dental exam and cleaning.
During the exam, the dentist may end up touching your roof of mouth, which can trigger a gag reflex. Most PPO insurance plans cover cleanings twice in a calendar or policy year or every six months, as long as the annual maximum is not exhausted.