Our team provides professional teeth cleanings in Columbia, MD. Even if you brush and floss your teeth faithfully, it is important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Dentists have a special term for preventive procedures like tooth cleaning: prophylaxis, from the Greek word meaning “to protect” or “guard against”. In this case, the focus is on preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Teeth cleaning is a general dentistry service that Howard County Smiles offers.
Howard County Smiles is your go-to dentist in Columbia, MD for routine dental cleanings and dental exams.
Performed in conjunction with a routine dental examination, a professional cleaning can go a long way toward controlling these two common maladies. While your teeth are being cleaned, it’s also a good opportunity for our staff to screen for developing dental problems such as gum disease or tooth decay.
Regular teeth cleanings allow our staff to best address the plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque and tartar build-up can easily lead to tooth decay, root canals, gum disease, or even tooth loss.
Patient-Focused Dentistry in Columbia, MD
Our office is family-oriented offering dentistry for children as well as adults. We provide each of our patients with a friendly, personalized, and gentle experience. If we see signs of instability, we can help you avoid bigger problems down the road with conservative treatment options and techniques to maintain your oral health at home.
The Professional Cleaning Procedure
Teeth cleaning is performed by a dental hygienist — a highly trained technician who uses a special set of tools designed just for this purpose. Because everyone’s teeth are a little different, your cleaning will be tailored to your particular needs. However, many cleanings follow a similar pattern:
First, the dental hygienist will do an oral examination to evaluate the health of your oral tissues.
Then the cleaning will take place using either an ultrasonic scaler or metal instruments referred to as curettes to remove the plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. An ultrasonic scaler is a hand-held tool with a tiny tip that vibrates at a very high frequency.
Hardened deposits are broken up by the rapid movement of the tip, which does not damage the tooth. A constant stream of liquid (called lavage) serves to cool the tip and aid in plaque removal; at the same time, it also washes away the debris.
Some hygienists prefer curettes, which are hand-held instruments that are curved and tapered to fit around and in between the teeth. If your teeth are sensitive, using hand-held instruments may be more comfortable for a professional cleaning. In the capable hands of a hygienist or dentist, it takes only moderate pressure to remove any stubborn buildup and scrub the teeth clean, regardless of which instruments are used.
Finally, your teeth are polished with a low-speed rotary brush fitted with a soft rubber tip. A slightly gritty, toothpaste-like gel is applied, and the tip spins around and polishes the teeth, making them smooth and shiny.
Teeth Cleaning FAQs
How long can I go between scheduling dental cleanings?
It is recommended that patients schedule dental cleanings at least two times a year. However, this varies from patient to patient. Some people at risk may be told to schedule dental cleanings more often. In these cases, patients may be asked to schedule appointments quarterly.
What should I do after a dental cleaning?
After a dental cleaning patients are told to refrain from eating until the effects from the numbing are entirely gone. Some swelling is normal post-cleaning. Over-the-counter medication can be used to help ease any swelling or pain. Saltwater rinses are also known to help reduce swelling and pain.
How long does it take gums to heal after deep cleaning?
Many patients report that their gums are the most sensitive after having a dental cleaning. Some sensitivity after cleaning is normal. The healing time for gums is about one week. Bleeding and gum redness post-cleaning are entirely normal. It shows that the dentist removed plaque and thoroughly cleaned your teeth and gums.
Why do dentists scrape your teeth?
During a dental cleaning, we scrape the teeth. When scraping the teeth, we use a stainless steel tool to remove bacterial buildup from the tooth enamel. Plaque and tartar can cover the teeth, contributing to problems like cavities and tooth decay. It is also difficult to remove tartar, or hardened plaque, from the teeth and gums at home. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.
Can I eat after a dental cleaning?
You can eat immediately if you just receive a dental cleaning. We recommend waiting at least thirty minutes if you receive dental sealants or fluoride treatment in our office. Our team will tell you when you can begin eating after your appointment.
How long does a deep dental cleaning take?
When you have a deep cleaning, it may take 45 minutes to an hour to clean your teeth. However, this time will depend on how much plaque and tartar are on your teeth and gums. We will ensure that you feel comfortable during your cleaning, so your time in the dental chair will fly by.
Information About Oral DNA Labs
At our office, we use clinical laboratory services from OralDNA Labs® to ensure we are giving our patients the best oral health information possible. OralDNA Labs® is a specialty diagnostics company designed to provide reliable, definitive, and cost-effective clinical tests that guide oral health professionals in detecting and prognosing disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Schedule a Dental Exam Today
Looking for a Columbia, MD dentistry near you for your family? Howard County Smiles is currently accepting new patients ages 3 and older. Call our office at (410) 415-9013 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to meeting the oral health needs of you and your family with the best dental services available.