Category Archives: dental cleaning

Types of Teeth Cleaning (& why you should know the difference)

woman getting a dentist exam and teeth cleaningWe admit it: cleaning your teeth is not the most exciting subject.  We know it’s not as much fun as talking about the last Packer or Badger football game, but it’s important.  Not important like learning about invertebrates in biology (especially if you’ve never used that info again), but important for the health of your mouth and even your whole body.

It’s also important to know the type of cleaning you need for dental insurance purposes, so you are clear what kind of teeth cleaning is covered, how often those cleanings are needed, and any costs you may have to cover.

Regular preventative dental cleaning

The most common dental cleaning, called prophylaxis, is what most of us think of when we step into the dentist office.  Prophylaxis is usually done on patients clear of symptoms of gingivitis, gum disease, or bone loss.  When it comes to insurance, this is the kind of cleaning typically referred to and is usually covered twice a year (check your plan for details).  Schedule a teeth cleaning twice a year, like your dentist recommends.

Root planing and scaling

If you are showing signs of bone and gum disease, your dentist typically recommends scheduling an appointment for a root planing and scaling.  Root planing and scaling cleans your mouth from the top down to the roots. Root planing and scaling removes plaque, tarter, bacteria and diseased deposits from the mouth.

Periodontal maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is not a single dental appointment, but a series of dental cleanings and therapies.  Because the goal of periodontal maintenance is to stem the progression of periodontal disease, these visits can be recommended and appointments scheduled as often as three months. Over the course of appointments, the cleaning and therapies clean out any bacteria, tarter, or plaque, and stem any gum disease symptoms.  For these patients, periodontal maintenance appointments are vital to preventing tooth loss, sustaining bone structure, ridding your mouth of diseased tissue, and maintaining healthy gums.  If your dentist recommends periodontal maintenance, you should check with your insurance for coverage details and keep on top of scheduling your next appointment.

“What type of teeth cleaning do I need?”

teeth cleaning The answer to this common dental cleaning question depends on you—specifically your mouth. Your dentist can give tell you the kind of teeth cleaning you need after an examination. His or her answer is dependent upon the state of your gums, and whether you have any signs of gingivitis or gum disease, also commonly called periodontal disease.

While many people think a dental cleaning is a dental cleaning, the answer to this frequent question is much more complicated.

Regular preventative dental cleaning. A regular cleaning, or prophylaxis, is commonly recommended by dentists for patients who have healthy, pink gums. These patients are not exhibiting any signs of gingivitis, gum disease or bone loss. A preventative dental cleaning removes plaque and tarter around the teeth and gum line, especially in hard to reach places. Usually, your dental benefits cover bi-annual regular dental cleanings as a preventative measure to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Root planing and scaling. The next level of dental cleaning cleans your teeth even below the gum line. Root planing and scaling cleans your mouth down to the roots, and is typically used as a first effort to treat gum and bone disease. During root planing and scaling, plaque, tarter, bacteria and diseased deposits are removed from the patient’s mouth.

Periodontal maintenance. This term refers to a series of deep cleanings and dental therapies used to keep your periodontal disease in check. These visits are scheduled as often as every three months, giving you and your dentist the opportunity to discuss the progression of your periodontal disease, clean out any bacteria, tarter or plaque, and keep the symptoms of your gum disease at bay. Keeping your periodontal maintenance appointments is essential to prevent tooth loss, sustain bone structure, remove diseased tissue and maintain the health of your gums.

If you have any questions about the type of teeth cleaning you may have, schedule an appointment or contact us with any follow-up questions you may have.