Dental Cleanings

Our hygienists perform routine cleanings to maintain oral health and prevent disease, as well as more involved cleanings to treat gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Here is a description of the different cleanings we provide:

I.  Dental Prophylaxis

A dental prophylaxis is a tooth cleaning that is performed to prevent disease.  This type of cleaning is indicated when the gums and bone around the teeth are considered healthy and is typically performed every six months.

II.  Debridement

A debridement is a type of cleaning that involves the general disinfection of the teeth and gums. This disinfection is performed when there is evidence of initial stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, and presence of heavy bacterial plaque and/or tartar build-up. This sometimes requires numbing for your comfort. The purpose of a debridement is to reverse gingivitis and prevent progression to bone loss and periodontal disease. This type of cleaning is typically followed up with a regular tooth cleaning, or dental prophylaxis.

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III.  Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a type of cleaning that is indicated when there is active bacterial infection of the gum and bone surrounding the teeth, called periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is typically diagnosed based on the measurements of gum pockets around the teeth, radiographs, and presence of bleeding.  This type of cleaning usually requires numbing of the gums and the use of special instruments to manually remove infection.

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IV.  Periodontal maintenance

After being diagnosed with periodontal disease and having initial scaling and root planing performed, individuals are placed on a periodontal maintenance cleaning schedule to help stabilize the gums and bone surrounding the teeth and to prevent re-infection.  Periodontal maintenance is typically performed in 3, 4, or 6 month intervals based on the individual’s needs.

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