Teeth Cleaning Gardens, Cape Town

Regular teeth cleanings are absolutely vital to maintaining optimal oral and dental health, and keeping your teeth, mouth, and gums clean. Besides maintaining healthy teeth and gums, regular dental cleanings allow your dentist to assess your teeth and surrounding dental structures for any potential issues. This way it can be addressed before it progresses into anything more severe.

Teeth cleanings are typically performed by a qualified and trained dental hygienist. It is a relatively simple and short 30 – 60 minutes procedure.

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What is a Oral Hygienist

A Oral Hygienists is a healthcare professional that provides educational, clinical, preventative oral and dental care. Oral hygienists specialise in routine preventive care, teeth cleaning, and patient examination to detect any signs of tooth decay, damage, disease, and early gum problems. They educate patients on good oral health and hygiene as well as good dental practices.

What does a Oral Hygienist do?

Oral hygienists play an important role in dental and oral healthcare as well as ‘preventive’ dental health of a patient. Some of the key duties, responsibilities and services provided by a dental hygienist include:

  • Oral hygienists conduct professional teeth cleaning procedures by removing plaque, stains, and tartar from teeth. This significantly improves a patient’s oral and dental health and prevents the formation of cavities, tooth loss and a range of other dental complications.
  • They review and conduct full dental and medical health history screenings on patients. The information gathered during this process will help both the dental hygienist and dentist assess the patient’s current condition and formulate the best treatment plan based on their specific needs and requirements. This review is a critical tool that hygienists use to:
    1. Assess and understand the patient’s previous dental work and any medical conditions they may have.
    2. Review any changes to the patient’s overall health (dental or otherwise), prescription medications, or allergies.
    3. Assess and determine any potential oral or dental health risks and/or complications.
  • Oral hygienists actively screen patients for any tooth decay, tooth damage, or oral disease prior to the dentist performing any dental work, treatments, or procedures.
  • They perform a range of oral and dental services and processes, including:
    1. Applying fluorides and sealants for tooth protection. Precautionary treatments like fluoride and sealant application play an important role in promoting and managing dental health between dental appointments.
    2. Administering local anaesthetics to patients.
    3. Taking and developing dental x-rays. Dental x-rays play a pivotal role in preventative dental care. Dental x-rays are vital in identifying any early-stage dental issues, allowing for treatment to commence before they have the opportunity to develop into more serious issues. Dental x-rays can also help the dentist detect cavities, gum disease, oral infections, and even more serious dental complications.
    4. Documenting the various treatment plans and dental care performed on patients.
  • Dental hygienists play a vital role in helping patients improve and maintain good dental and oral health. They take an incredibly proactive approach in preventative care by thoroughly educating patients on various preventive oral and dental care measures and practices. This includes practising good oral hygiene such as proper brushing and flossing. Patient education is a fundamental aspect of a dental hygienist’s job. Dental hygienists will also educate patients on proper home care techniques and practises to help them keep their teeth and gums healthy.
  • Hygienists also give advice about diet and measures to prevent tooth decay. The hygienist will work with your dental team to provide you with dental and oral care that is tailored to your specific needs.

What To Expect During a Teeth Cleaning Procedure?

Knowing exactly what to expect from the teeth cleaning process, will help put your mind at ease and allow you to better enjoy the minty-fresh results.

Stages of Teeth Cleaning

The primary goal of a professional teeth cleaning procedure is to remove any plaque, tartar, and calculus from the surface of your teeth, near your gum line and in between your teeth. According to the severity of the condition and the degree of plaque and tartar build-up, we can categorise dental cleanings into three main categories:

  • Standard Cleaning

Individuals who have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis, and present with minimal plaque, tartar, and calculus build-up should opt for a standard teeth cleaning.

  • Deep Cleaning

Deep teeth cleaning treatments are recommended when an individual’s gum disease has advanced into periodontitis, and pockets have started to form. This procedure is also recommended to those who have a greater degree of plaque, tartar, and calculus build-up.

  • Surgical Cleaning

Surgical cleaning is recommended in extreme cases where the gum disease is so advanced that not even curettage is enough to clean the deposits thoroughly.

The Teeth Cleaning Procedure

Step 1: Physical Exam / Assessment

Before the professional teeth cleaning procedure can begin, the dental hygienist will start by conducting a thorough assessment / physical examination of your entire mouth. The hygienist will typically use a small concave mirror to check your mouth and surrounding structures for any signs of oral or dental problems, such as inflamed gums, plaque and tartar build-up, or dark spots or stains on your teeth.

This is an important first step in the process as it helps the dental hygienist know what to focus on during the teeth cleaning procedure and identify any potential areas of concern. If more serious issues or problems such as cavities or gum disease are detected during the initial assessment, the hygienist will inform the dentist for a more thorough examination to be conducted.

Step 2: Removing plaque and tartar

If the oral hygienist does not detect any further issues during your initial assessment, he/she will progress to the next step of the teeth cleaning procedure – Removing the plaque and tartar from your teeth. With the small mirror as a guide, the dental hygienist will use a small hooked tool called a scaler to remove any plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth, near your gum line and in between your teeth. Depending on the degree of plaque and tartar build-up, either a manual or ultrasonic scaler is used.

The main difference between the two is that a manual scaler feels like scraping on the teeth while the ultrasonic scaler uses gentle vibration and water to remove large deposits. The more tartar there is on your teeth, the longer the process will take.

Step 3: Polishing and flossing

Once your teeth are plaque and tartar-free, the dental hygienist will polish your teeth and remove any additional stains using a handheld electric tool with a rubber prophy cup attached and a gritty toothpaste called prophylaxis paste. During this step of the process, you can expect to feel a slow grinding motion on your teeth. While the ‘grinding’ sound can often make some patients feel uneasy, it sounds far worse than it actually is. It is a great way to get a much deeper dental cleaning and remove any additional tartar left behind from the scaler.

After the scaling and polishing process is completed, the dental hygienist will floss your teeth to remove any remaining plaque and paste. Afterwards you will rinse your mouth to get rid of any excess debris. Usually your hygienist will use a rinse that contains liquid fluoride to help strengthen your teeth.

Step 4: Topical Fluoride Treatment

The last step of the teeth cleaning procedure is a fluoride treatment. This treatment is typically used as an additional protectant for your teeth to help fight/protect them from cavities. Often, the dental hygienist will give you the option of choosing what flavor fluoride gel you like. The gel is placed inside a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. You will then be asked to bite down onto the mouthpiece for approximately one minute.

Why do you need a Professional Teeth Cleaning?

Here are some of the top reasons why it is important for you to get regular professional teeth cleanings:

  • It helps keep your teeth clean and healthy and free of plaque, stains, and tartar. While proper and regular brushing and flossing can help prevent large amounts of plaque and tartar from building up on your teeth, getting a professional teeth cleaning done twice a year (or as suggested by your dental hygienist or dentist) is essential for fully removing any build-up.
  • It prevents tooth decay and damage.
  • It helps prevent potential tooth loss.
  • It protects your gumline.
  • It keeps your breath fresh and aids in maintaining optimal oral hygiene standards.
  • It improves your oral and dental health as well as your overall health and wellbeing.
  • As professional teeth cleanings help remove harmful and unwanted stains, tartar, and plaque from your teeth, it ultimately gives you a more confident, natural looking smile.
  • The core focus of teeth cleaning is centred around preventative dental care.
  • At the end of the day, prevention is better, and cheaper, than cure. This means getting regular teeth cleaning done, not only saves you time, but money too. Professional teeth cleaning helps detect and prevent more serious dental diseases and conditions that can be incredibly expensive and often more time-consuming to treat.

Does Dental Cleaning hurt?

Most individuals that undergo the teeth cleaning process report experiencing minimal pain and discomfort both during and after the procedure. Each patient is however different, and therefore have different experiences.

Some factors that have an impact on the process, potentially influencing the level of pain and discomfort you experience, include:

  • If you suffer from increased tooth and dental sensitivity due to inflammation, gum disease or tooth decay.
  • Going long periods of time between teeth cleanings.
  • Whether you experience Jaw pain due to temporomandibular disorders.

If you experience any excessive or abnormal degree of pain and discomfort during and after your teeth cleaning, it is incredibly important to communicate that to your dental hygienist. Often, the dental hygienist will allow you to take a break or try a different method to lessen the pain and discomfort.

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How often should you get your Teeth Professionally Cleaned?

The general rule of thumb for how often you should get a professional teeth cleaning is twice a year. This applies to individuals who do not have a history of periodontal disease or any pre-existing dental issues. If you do have a history of tooth decay, tooth damage, cavities, dental, oral or gum disease, or any other dental complications, it is important that you consult with your dentist and dental hygienist to establish what the best course of action is and how often you should undergo a professional teeth cleaning.

At Ratan & Singh we recommend that each patient have their teeth checked out every few months for any signs of gum disease, plaque accumulation and tartar build-up. Irrespective of how stringent your oral and dental hygiene regimen is, most people start to produce tartar every 6 to 12 months. The only way to remove tartar from the surface of your teeth is by means of a professional teeth cleaning.

How do you know you need a Cleaning?

It is important to have a regular dental consultation / check-up scheduled with your dentist every six months to ensure your oral and dental health is on par, irrespective if you are presenting with any signs or symptoms. However, there are early stages of gum disease that are apparent and will require you to act as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Seek help and schedule a dental consultation with us if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Bleeding in your mouth or on your gums
  • Redness and inflammation of your gums
  • If you notice/become aware of a foul odor/ bad breath – This is typically a sign of gum inflammation and infection.
  • If you are experiencing any unexplained sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
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