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Teeth Cleaning – FAQs

A professional tooth cleaning is one of the most common dental procedures that our practice provides. The medical name for teeth cleaning is called “prophylaxis,” which is our standard process of using an oral hygienist to thoroughly clean all the tartar, staining, and bacteria from your teeth and gums. It’s a gentle, yet thorough preventative process that should happen throughout your lifetime in order to maintain your oral health.

We often receive phone calls from new patients who ask questions about this procedure, so we’ve assembled some of the more common questions and answers that we hear related to teeth cleaning. Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you have further questions about any of the procedures we provide.

Teeth Cleaning – Most Common Questions

Why is cleaning your teeth important?

Tartar is a hard mineralized build-up of plaque on the teeth. If allowed to stay on the teeth, it attracts bacteria that can build up and cause cavities and gum disease.

Can teeth cleaning affect my overall health?

Poor oral hygiene can lead to a whole host of health problems that extend beyond the potential for losing a tooth to decay. Gum disease can even break down the bone holding the tooth in place. These are all good reasons to follow your dentist’s advice and seek a dental cleaning and oral exam from your dentist twice a year.

What is the process?

You will sit back in one of our comfy dental chairs as the hygienist works on your smile. She or he will gently remove the soft plaque and harder tarter with professional instruments designed to gently remove these stains from your teeth. Then the hygienist will polish and floss your teeth to a glossy perfection. It only takes about 30 to 45 minutes and you’ll also have a dental exam and possibly, x-rays.

Will it hurt?

While teeth cleaning rarely hurts, it may be a little uncomfortable. But we do our best to make it a gentle, yet thorough process that prepares you for a lifetime of good oral health.

How often should I have my teeth cleaned?

We typically recommend a thorough professional prophylaxis every six months (twice a year). For patients who are having problems with their teeth or gums, we may recommend this more frequently.

Will I see the dentist during my cleaning?

Absolutely! The dentist will check the x-rays and look closely at your teeth and gums for any problem areas.

How expensive is it?

If you have dental insurance, the insurer often covers preventative care. Teeth cleaning can range from $75 to $200 typically, and that does not include dental x-rays if they are necessary.

Are teeth cleaning the same as periodontal scaling and root planing?

Actually, not. Periodontal scaling and root planing are a much deeper cleaning than regular prophylaxis. If you come to us as an adult and have never had prophylaxis, or if you are showing signs of gum disease, we may recommend this procedure. If your teeth are loose, or there are deep gum pockets, bleeding gums or plaque and tartar below the gum line, you may be a candidate for this procedure.