Dental Cleaning & Periodontal Scaling

Routine dental cleaning & periodontal scaling appointments are an important part of maintaining optimal oral health and keeping treatment costs low. Dr. Fotinos helps patients in and around Orange County, CA, ward off decay and gum disease with routine dental cleaning treatments aimed at eliminating harmful bacteria, plaque and tartar.

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Hand Scaling and Polishing


Deep Scaling and Root Planing


How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?

Ideally, both adults and kids should have their teeth professionally cleaned every six months to help prevent gum disease, remove stains and make sure brushing and flossing techniques are keeping bacteria, plaque, and tartar at bay. Routine cleanings also provide the dentist with an opportunity to look for early signs of decay so cavities can be addressed while they’re still small and relatively easy to treat. Plus, it ensures oral cancer screenings are performed on a regular basis. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays.

What Happens During a Routine Dental Cleaning?

First, the teeth and gums will be visually evaluated, then special tools and mild dental abrasives will be used to clean carefully around every tooth, including the areas between teeth and along the gum line where bacteria and plaque can hide. In addition to removing plaque and tartar, the abrasives will help remove some of the stains that can make teeth look dingy. During the cleaning, the hygienist will be looking for areas where brushing and flossing aren’t removing plaque and bacteria. At the end of the appointment, the hygienist will be able to provide helpful tips and guidance to improve brushing and flossing in these areas, so teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible between office visits. If moderate to severe gum disease is present, an action plan can be developed to battle the disease and help prevent tooth loss. Once the cleaning is complete, dental x-rays may also be taken so the dentist can evaluate the entire structure of each tooth, including the roots.

Sometimes, a dentist would recommend a different dental procedure before or instead of veneers. For instance, whitening might be a better choice for minor discoloration, and orthodontic methods could improve gaps and crooked teeth. Crowns are a similar option to porcelains, but they cover the entire tooth and are often preferable when there is a great deal of decay, or a lot of the tooth is missing from another cause.

Can Dental Cleanings Prevent Gum Disease?

Yes, routine dental cleanings are one of the best ways to prevent gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in California and throughout the U.S. Cleanings remove sticky plaque and hard tartar that harbor the bacteria responsible for gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria that live naturally in your mouth, but if your mouth isn’t kept clean, this bacteria can build into larger populations. Their resulting waste, states the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), becomes a sticky white substance called dental plaque, which can then harden into a yellow mineralized substance called tartar, or calculus. The best way to prevent gum disease is to remove this bacterial residue before it hardens to a point where you can’t remove it on your own.

Combat Gum Disease with Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal disease is sneaky. Bacteria hides under the gums, plaque and tartar build-up on tooth roots, and the gums end up inflamed. The go-to non-surgical treatments for periodontal disease are scaling and root planing. The plaque and tartar have got to go. Our skilled dental hygienist uses special tools to remove bacteria and irritating build-up from tooth roots.

Periodontal Scaling

Tartar (calculus) and plaque cause problems on the visible surfaces of teeth. Can you imagine the havoc they wreak below the gum line? Teeth scaling involves the use of an ultrasonic scaling tool to target plaque and tartar build-up both on the surface and below the gum line along teeth roots. During the procedure, an antimicrobial agent is often used to irrigate the area below the gum line to help reduce bacteria.

Root Planing

When roots become riddled with bacteria colonies and tartar, it makes sense that treatment seeks to remove the unwanted material. Removing the cementum and surface dentin smooths the root to promote healing. Bacteria struggle to reattach to the smooth surface, so root planing helps prevent future damage.

Prevention is Key

Periodontal scaling and root planing fight gum disease from the inside-out. Once the procedures are complete, it is imperative you brush and floss according to instructions. When followed up with proper oral hygiene, it is likely that a deep cleaning can prevent more aggressive treatments. Even if surgical intervention becomes necessary, scaling and root planing can improve outcomes by stabilizing the disease and improving tissue health.
Patients in and around Orange County, CA can count on Dr. Fotinos and his team to stop gum disease in its tracks. The sooner we eliminate built-up bacteria, plaque, and tartar, the sooner your mouth can heal.