Regular Check Up With
Teeth Cleaning in Albuquerque
Besides the oral hygiene that a patient does at home, it’s important to go to the dentist at least once a year for professional teeth cleaning. This is because there are things that our dental hygienist at Jack Ollason Family Dentistry of Albuquerque can do for a patient’s teeth that they can't do at home. The dentist or dental hygienist can also spot potential problems that the patient can't.
What We Examine
The dental hygienist first examines the patient’s mouth to make sure that there are no cavities, that fillings are still in place and that the gums and other tissues are healthy. They use a dental mirror with a long handle to investigate all the parts of the patient’s mouth. If the hygienist sees a serious problem such as swollen and bleeding gums, they may call in the dentist for an evaluation.
Removal of Plaque and Tartar
Plaque is a film of bacteria that causes tooth decay. Tartar, or dental calculus is hardened plaque. Plaque is detrimental because the bacteria it contains secrete an acid that eats into the tooth enamel. Tartar is hard for a patient to remove at home, but the dental hygienist has the tools and skill to remove it.
The dental hygienist first uses an ultrasonic tool to loosen the tartar. The instrument also sprays water to wash it away. Then, the hygienist uses an instrument called a scaler to remove more of the tartar and plaque from the tight spaces in between the teeth and at the place where the tooth meets the gum.
If the hygienist finds gum disease, they might perform root scaling as well as planing. This is called a deep cleaning. The hygienist does this when they discover deep pockets between the teeth and the gums. This allows tartar and debris to accumulate beneath the gum line, which makes the pockets deeper and contributes to advancing gum disease.
The patient may need to come into the dentist’s office more than once for scaling and planing. They’re also given a local anesthesia, for planing can be uncomfortable. Planing smooths out the rough patches on the surface of the tooth roots to discourage bacteria from clinging to them.
After the tartar is removed, the hygienist then brushes the teeth with an electric toothbrush. The toothpaste used may taste and smell like the toothpaste the patient uses at home, but it’s gritty in order to get rid of the last traces of tartar. Its technical name is prophylaxis paste. This type of toothpaste can’t be used every day because it would wear down the tooth’s protective enamel. After the cleaning, the patient is told to spit.
After this, the hygienists flosses the patient’s teeth to make sure that the teeth are completely clean. Then, they’ll have the patient rinse their mouth. This rinse has fluoride that helps strengthen the teeth. After the rinse, the hygienist gives the patient a fluoride treatment.
Fluoride treatments come in several flavors, including bubblegum. Either gel or paste is placed into a mouthpiece that the hygienist then puts over the patient’s teeth. It’s left there for about a minute. Dentists use fluoride because it re-mineralizes the tooth’s enamel and neutralizes the plaque.
After their teeth cleaning, our patients find that their smiles are brighter and their mouths feel cleaner.