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What Are the Different Types of Dental Cleanings?

Did you know that thousands of naturally-occurring bacteria live on the surface of your teeth? While regular brushing and flossing can help keep your mouth healthy, bi-annual visits to the best dentist in Morton, IL, can help eliminate harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. During these visits, the dentist evaluates your oral health and removes plaque and tartar via professional dental cleanings.

However, not all dental cleanings are the same. For this reason, it’s best to know the difference between each type to determine which dental cleaning is the right choice for you.

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4 Types of Dental Cleanings

Regular Dental Cleaning

The dentist or dental hygienist performs regular dental cleaning, otherwise known as prophylaxis or routine cleaning, on healthy patients needing routine maintenance to prevent disease and ensure optimal oral health. This preventative measure removes stains, plaque, and tartar buildup from the tooth structures above the gum line. Moreover, it usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour to finish.

The dentist performs regular dental cleanings during a routine dental checkup. The process generally involves a visual exam, x-rays, brushing with a gritty paste, flossing, polishing, and fluoride treatment.

Scaling and Root Planing (SRP)

While regular dental cleaning exclusively targets the tooth structures sitting above the gum line, scaling and root planing focus on the base of the teeth, the gum pockets, and the tooth roots.  

Although this treatment is non-surgical, it’s slightly more invasive than routine cleaning. SRP involves scraping the teeth with special dental tools to remove tartar from the gums, gum line, and other supporting structures of teeth.  

Furthermore, SRP is usually recommended for patients with mild to moderate gum disease. These signs include swollen gums, bleeding gums, or loose teeth. In most cases, the entire process requires multiple dental visits to complete.

Gross Debridement

A gross debridement, also known as full mouth debridement (FMD), refers to a procedure geared toward patients who haven't visited the dentist in more than a year or don't practice healthy oral habits. Moreover, dentists may use this procedure to identify or determine issues they didn't initially detect before the dental cleaning.

In most cases, they perform gross debridement as a part of a more extensive treatment plan. Furthermore, this type of cleaning involves removing severe plaque and tartar buildup. Since gross debridement is more invasive than standard cleanings, the dentist may use a local anesthetic to numb sensitive areas. They may also use ultrasonic tools during the procedure to ensure an accurate visual exam of the teeth and gums.

It's important to note that while a simple gross debridement usually takes an hour, debridement performed on severely damaged teeth with large amounts of plaque and tartar buildup may be broken up into multiple appointments. They may schedule these appointments one to two weeks apart.

Periodontal Maintenance

Besides affecting the gums, periodontal diseases can cause considerable damage to the structures around teeth, including the bones. Periodontal maintenance is a specialized cleaning procedure recommended for patients suffering from mild to severe oral health concerns such as gingivitis or periodontitis.  

In addition, dentists may also recommend periodontal maintenance to patients with systemic medical issues that may affect their oral health.

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Looking for the Best Dentist in Morton, IL?

At Morton Dental Center, we take a one-on-one approach to dentistry, take our time to get to know you personally, and understand your unique needs and desires. Contact us today to make an appointment.