When you think of teeth cleaning methods at dentist offices, how many types can you name? One or two? Depending on your unique needs, there are several different types of dental cleanings your dentist might recommend or use. 

Nearly 26% of U.S. adults are dealing with untreated tooth decay, so getting proper dental care is more important than ever. Brushing and flossing at home help prevent cavities, but only professional teeth cleaning methods can remove tartar buildup and keep your smile healthy and sparkling. 

Keep reading to learn a bit more about the different teeth cleaning procedures

Benefits of Various Teeth Cleaning Methods at Dentist Offices 

Going to the dentist for teeth cleaning offers patients a variety of benefits. Let’s go over a few of the most common.  

1. Plaque Removal 

One of the primary reasons for cleaning teeth at dentist offices is the removal of plaque, a sticky film that forms on your teeth and contains harmful bacteria. If it’s not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove – and could cost more to treat

2. Tartar Removal 

Tartar, also known as calculus, is hardened plaque that only professional dental cleaning techniques can remove. If you have tartar on your teeth, you’re not alone, as 68% of adults have it too. Your dentist will recommend specific types of dental cleanings to help remove the buildup because untreated tartar can lead to bad breath, inflamed gums, cavities, and other dental issues. 

3. Gum Disease Prevention 

Did you know that almost half of adults age 30 and older have some level of gum disease? And it’s serious because gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss, so you want to catch it early. Fortunately, there are teeth cleaning techniques that can prevent or stop gum disease in its tracks. 

4. Cavity Prevention 

Unchecked plaque and tartar buildup can lead to cavities, which are tiny holes in the teeth that can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss if left untreated. Scheduling regular appointments with your dentist for teeth cleaning can help you avoid cavities and keep your smile healthy. 

5. Whiter Teeth 

Over time, teeth can get stained from coffee, tea, red wine, smoking, and other substances. At-home teeth whitening treatments can help remove some surface stains, but only professional teeth cleaning techniques can get your teeth their whitest (and healthiest!) 

Now that you understand the benefits of getting your teeth cleaned by a professional, let’s look at the different types of teeth cleaning methods at dentist offices. 

4 Types of Dental Cleanings

So, what professional teeth cleaning methods are available? What do dentists use to clean teeth? Let’s look at some of the most common professional teeth cleaning methods and what dental cleaning techniques dentists use to clean your teeth in each case.  

1. Routine Dental Cleaning

If you were wondering, “What is a teeth cleaning called?” the technical term is “prophylaxis” cleaning. It uses the most common teeth cleaning techniques to maintain a healthy smile.  

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a routine dental cleaning at least twice a year. A routine teeth cleaning is perfect for patients with good oral health and little to no signs of gum disease, but some patients might need to come in more often, depending on their case.  

During a routine cleaning, dental hygienists use special tools to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gum line. They also polish your teeth to remove any surface stains.  

2. Deep Cleaning 

A deep cleaning is one of the teeth cleaning methods at dentist offices used to treat gum disease. During a deep cleaning, a hygienist removes plaque, tartar, and any bacterial deposits below the gum line that may have been missed during a regular cleaning. Deep cleanings involve two key processes: scaling and root planing

Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth, both above and below the gum line. Root planing is the process of smoothing out any irregularities on the roots of your teeth, which can help prevent the future buildup of plaque and tartar. 

Dentists usually recommend two appointments and suggest repeating this dental cleaning procedure if gum disease continues progressing. After that, you might need a deep cleaning every three to four months. Most patients with gum disease will only need these teeth cleaning techniques twice a year, though. 

3. Periodontal Maintenance Cleaning 

The next cleaning is called periodontal maintenance cleanings. These cleanings follow a deep cleaning in order to ensure another deep cleaning is not necessary. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are similar to deep cleanings but are often performed more frequently (every three to four months or even every month), are less intense and invasive than the deep cleaning, and may seem similar to a standard cleaning.

4. Debridement 

The fourth teeth cleaning procedure is a debridement. Some patients have so much plaque and tartar buildup that a routine or deep cleaning just isn’t enough to clean their teeth. 

Debridement is a teeth cleaning technique that involves a deeper inspection of the teeth and the removal of any stubborn calculus (hardened plaque) that can harm the ability to complete regular dental exams. It also uncovers potential issues your dentist might not see during a routine cleaning and can help ensure that the plaque and tartar are completely removed from your teeth.

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning Procedure At Northside Dental Co. 

There are four professional teeth cleaning methods that can help maintain or get you back to a healthy smile. But it’s important to note that you can’t choose which teeth cleaning method at a dentist’s office you get. Once our team assesses your dental needs, we’re under oath to provide you with no less than what’s required for your oral health and wellbeing.

At Northside Dental Co., we provide all types of dental cleanings, from routine to deep cleanings. As one of the leading oral health providers in the Richmond, VA region, our team is committed to providing the best possible dental care for our patients. 

Contact us to learn more about our teeth cleaning procedures or book an appointment online today. We can’t wait to meet you!