Professional teeth cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning is a procedure performed by a dentist, in which dental plaque, tartar/calculus, and tooth discolorations are thoroughly removed.

Professional teeth cleaning is also referred to as PZR (Prophylaxis), dental hygiene, or simply teeth cleaning, and it is an essential treatment to prevent diseases in the oral cavity.

The terms “professional teeth cleaning” and “dental hygiene” are synonymous and will be used interchangeably in this article.

What is Professional Teeth Cleaning?

Professional teeth cleaning involves the thorough cleaning of the teeth by a dentist, using ideal instruments and optimal lighting conditions. Despite daily oral hygiene at home, many patients develop stubborn impurities on their teeth. It is precisely these deposits, discolorations, and crusts that are completely removed during dental hygiene.

Teeth cleaning can be performed by the dentist, a dental hygienist, or a prophylaxis assistant.

The goal of teeth cleaning is to clean the tooth surfaces without causing any damage to the teeth and gums. A gentle and careful approach to dental hygiene is far more effective in the long run than a thorough yet traumatic teeth cleaning.

Advantages of Professional Teeth Cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning at the dentist aims to prevent the development of diseases such as cavities, gum inflammation or periodontitis. Consequently, it is a sensible prophylaxis intended to prevent the destruction of teeth.

Another advantage of teeth cleaning is the concurrent examination that can be conducted in the dental office. This allows for the faster diagnosis of diseases, and teeth can be preserved for a longer period.

Disadvantages of Professional Teeth Cleaning

However, professional teeth cleaning also comes with some drawbacks that need to be considered. If dental hygiene is not carried out gently and cautiously, it can lead to injuries to the gums and teeth. Such a traumatic approach may result in gum recession and sensitive teeth.

Additionally, traditional teeth cleaning at the dentist is not capable of improving the oral flora. As a result, there is no significant improvement in bad breath, and the progression of cavities or periodontitis can only be limited to a certain extent.

Dental hygiene should always be combined with an optimization of the oral flora to achieve long-term stable oral health.

Procedure during Dental Hygiene

During dental hygiene, all teeth are thoroughly and carefully cleaned. It should be noted that a large number of bacteria can enter the bloodstream during teeth cleaning, causing bacteremia. The extent of bacterial entry into the blood should be minimized through precautions.

  • Mouth Cavity Disinfection: The process begins with the disinfection of the oral cavity using a disinfecting, biological mouth rinse. This reduces the number of harmful germs, and fewer problematic bacteria are proven to enter the bloodstream.
  • Teeth Cleaning: Subsequently, a thorough but gentle cleaning of the teeth takes place. The gums and teeth should be injured as little as possible. Care should also be taken with sensitive tooth necks to avoid pain.
  • Improvement of Oral Flora: We always combine dental hygiene with the establishment of the oral flora to ensure effective and long-term prophylaxis.

During dental hygiene, teeth are cleaned using hand instruments, ultrasound, or AIRFLOW® (powder jet). We recommend, whenever possible, conducting teeth cleaning with fine ultrasonic tips as it is the gentlest method. The sound waves cause the ultrasonic tip to vibrate, allowing for the gentle removal of deposits, tartar, and tooth discolorations. Even hard deposits hidden under the gums can be detected and eliminated with the ultrasonic tips.

In cases of pronounced tooth discoloration, AIRFLOW® can be cautiously used as it effectively removes stubborn stains. Alternatively, discolorations can be eliminated through polishing with pumice, a volcanic rock powder.

Pain During and After Teeth Cleaning

If the dentist or dental hygienist proceeds with caution and does not traumatize the tissue, teeth cleaning should not cause pain. However, some patients have very sensitive teeth, where any contact with the teeth triggers pain or discomfort. Whether pain occurs during teeth cleaning depends on individual sensitivity and the approach of the dental personnel.

Pain after teeth cleaning should also not occur if the dentist or dental hygienist has performed the procedure atraumatically and tissue-friendly. However, if tissue is injured, which can never be completely ruled out, there may be pain and discomfort in the days following the cleaning. Even very sensitive and delicate patients may experience an unpleasant feeling after teeth cleaning in the days that follow. This is usually not a cause for concern and should subside quickly.

It is crucial for teeth cleaning to be done gently and carefully to prevent injuries and ensure that there is no pain during or after dental hygiene.

Dental Hygiene Alternatives and Prevention

There is no real alternative to dental hygiene. If teeth impurities cannot be removed at home, professional teeth cleaning under optimal conditions at the dentist is necessary. In the dental office, teeth can be cleaned gently and effectively, with ideal lighting conditions, the best equipment, and trained personnel.

It is not recommended to perform dental hygiene at home using teeth cleaning kits or devices because the risk of injury is too high. There are also no professional teeth cleaning devices for home use that could replace dental hygiene.

Dr. med. dent. Artur Hein

Professional dental cleanings should not harm the teeth and gums and be as painless as possible. Our team is here for you.

Dr. med. dent. Artur Hein Dentist Winterthur

Frequently asked Questions about Professional Teeth Cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning raises questions and uncertainties for many individuals. Therefore, below is a list of frequently asked questions on the subject. We hope to answer your questions as comprehensively as possible.

During teeth cleaning, all tooth impurities that the patient could not remove themselves are cleaned, leaving the teeth clean. Cleaning is ideally done with ultrasound, and hand instruments and AIRFLOW® may also be used.

An exact duration cannot be specified as the time for teeth cleaning depends heavily on the extent of impurities.

Depending on dental health, teeth cleaning should be done one to four times a year. Individuals with a healthy set of teeth may only need dental hygiene once a year. However, patients who frequently experience cavities, periodontitis, or jaw infections may need more frequent dental hygiene appointments.

Yes, that is true. A careless approach to dental hygiene can damage the enamel surface and the gums. Careful and atraumatic tooth cleaning should be ensured.

After teeth cleaning, it is recommended to avoid eating or drinking (except water) for about an hour. This time is necessary for the formation of a enamel pellicle on the teeth, which acts as a thin protective layer, reducing the risk of dehydration or damage from acid.

After teeth cleaning, it is advisable to refrain from smoking for at least an hour. If the gums are sensitive after dental hygiene, it is recommended to abstain from smoking for at least 12 hours to avoid additional stress on the gums.

Some individuals feel unwell after professional teeth cleaning. The reason is that bacteria have entered the bloodstream during the cleaning. The immune system responds with various adjustments perceived by the individual as symptoms of illness. The feeling of illness should subside within a few days. This can be avoided by a careful, atraumatic approach and disinfectant measures during dental hygiene.

Before teeth cleaning, teeth are partially covered with tooth discoloration, plaque, and tartar, while afterward, the natural tooth surface is visible. Since the natural tooth is generally brighter than the adhering discolorations, there is usually an aesthetic comparison between before and after.

AIRFLOW®, also known as Air-Polishing or powder jet cleaning, is a dental hygiene method where teeth are bombarded with a powder-air mixture. Typically, powders like sodium bicarbonate, glycine, erythritol, or calcium carbonate are used. The method is advantageous for severe tooth discolorations. Caution should be exercised to avoid injuring the gums and prevent the development of emphysema (air in the tissue). Adequate suction is also important because AIRFLOW® generates a significant amount of contaminated aerosols.

Questions are circulating on the internet as to whether teeth cleaning is a lie and a money-making exercise. No, teeth cleaning at the dentist is important and should be carried out regularly. Studies and experience have shown that regular, professional removal of plaque and tartar can reduce the risk of dental diseases.

The costs of teeth cleaning can vary widely. The costs depend on who performs the dental hygiene (dentist, dental hygienist, or prophylaxis assistant) and the measures applied. The location of the practice, with different fixed costs for rent and personnel, also contributes to a significant price difference.

Basic health insurance does not cover the costs of teeth cleaning. Only in exceptional cases, such as severe general illnesses, may coverage be considered. Therefore, reimbursement from health insurance companies such as Helsana, Asura, CSS, Swica, as well as TK (Techniker Krankenkasse), AOK, Barmer, and DAK is not to be expected.

Further information

Further information intended to give a better overview of the topic.