Teeth cleanings involve removing plaque (a soft, sticky film containing bacteria) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect the teeth. While this is a good thing, it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This chalky substance will eventually build up over time. Usually it is tooth colored and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth. If plaque is allowed to accumulate it will provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive.
The purpose of a teeth cleaning and polishing is to make the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick.
During your visit the dental hygienist will first remove the plaque and tartar build up, using the Pro-Select Platinum ultrasonic cleaning system. The Pro-Select quickly and painlessly pushes tartar and bacterial deposits off tooth surfaces above and below the gum line. This instrument is also an irrigator allowing the hygienist to bathe the teeth either with anti-bacterial solution or topical fluoride to disinfect and desensitize the teeth. Many patients appreciate the minimal vibration and light touch of the instrument and the wonderfully clean feeling it produces. As health care providers we appreciate the ability to remove heavy and diseased deposits with a sweep of the hand.
After your teeth are free of any build up, the hygienist will then begin to polish. For this process we use the Cavitron ProphyJet System. Prophy Jet technology is an alternative to traditional tooth polishing. Instead of a rubber cup that rotates to clean your teeth with an abrasive paste, Prophy Jet polishing uses a pressurized spray of water combined with a baking soda paste.
Also known as an air polishing system, the Prophy Jet cleans plaque, stains, and deposits from teeth and polishes them. The high-pressured water removes dental plaque, while the baking soda acts as an acid neutralizer and a pumice to polish off extrinsic stains caused by foods, drinks, or smoking.
To complete your visit, the hygienist will apply a topical fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay by speeding up the remineralization process and disrupting harmful acid production.