Posted on: 25 June 2015Share
Optimal oral healthcare comes from daily diligence and a visit to the dentist once or twice a year for a deep cleaning. But if genetics or healthcare slips have left your mouth in less than optimal condition, your next visit to the dentist might require a deeper clean to restore health and better protect your teeth in the future.
Here are a few types of advanced dental cleanings a dentist might use for problem teeth.
Standard Cleaning with a Fluoride Varnish Finish
If you have a mild case of gingivitis or sensitive teeth, your dentist might recommend a fluoride varnish to follow your regularly scheduled cleaning.
A standard cleaning involves the dentist using handheld tools to remove any plaque buildups around your teeth and gums that aren't carried away during regular brushing. The dentist will then apply a thick fluoride varnish to the surface of the teeth. This varnish will last for several hours and essentially marinates your teeth in fluoride during that time.
What's the purpose of the varnish? Fluoride can help reduce harmful oral bacteria and strengthens existing enamel so that your teeth are better protected from stains, damage, and sensitivity. Note that fluoride doesn't make enamel regenerate if its lost due to decay or trauma.
Debridement is an advanced form of a standard cleaning that brings in the use of ultrasonic equipment. The vibrations of these tools helps knock loose thick buildups of plaque that can't be scraped away using traditional tools.
If you have sensitive teeth or gums, a debridement will likely result in some minor bleeding and increased sensitivity. The dentist can use a local anesthetic to make the actual debridement more comfortable, but the sensitivity might still be noticeable when the anesthesia wears off.
Scaling and Root Planing
If you have periodontal disease, the infection can permeate your gums. Antibiotics can help clear up any existing infections. Scaling and root planing can help ensure the infection doesn't come back.
During this procedure, your dentist will use a combination of handheld and ultrasonic tools from your teeth and below the gums.
If your infection caused pockets to open around where the gums meet the teeth, the dentist will clean out those pockets so that the gaps will grow shut over time. Pockets that are overly large might need to be cut, pulled tight, and stitched back into position against the lower edge of the teeth.