A routine cleaning and polishing are essential to prevent the build-up of bacteria, plaque, and tartar (also known as calculus). It is also important in assisting in the prevention of some serious health problems. Plaque, which is a soft, white, and sticky, can easily be brushed off with your toothbrush at home. However, if plaque is left on the tooth surface, it hardens and turns into tartar (calculus). These build-ups can form above or below the gumline and act like a splinter in your gums. Tartar (calculus) can only be removed with dental instruments that a dental hygienist or dentist use. If the tartar is not removed, it can cause gum disease, referred to as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Studies have shown the bacteria that causes gum disease is directly related to heart disease, diabetes, and several other diseases.
After your teeth have been cleaned by the dental hygienist, a dental polishing will be performed. The purpose of the polish is to make the tooth surface smooth. The smoother the tooth is, the harder it is for plaque and tartar to form again. We use a prophy cup, which is a small motorized rubber cup along with abrasive polishing paste. In cases where a patient has stubborn stains or orthodontic braces, a special air polisher may be used.
Depending on the amount of build-up on the patients’ teeth, level of infection, and their oral hygiene, our dentists may recommend a deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing. This type of cleaning involves removing the tartar from under the gumline (scaling) and smoothing the areas of plaque buildup (planing).
Our hygienists at Door County Dental Care are highly qualified and educated individuals who are proactive in preventing gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental and health problems.