Dental Cleaning 101

Have you ever had a moment or two questioning whether going to a dental cleaning was worth it?

Whether it be because of odontophobia, financial difficulties or having just moved and aren’t too keen on actively seeking out new dental clinics; there are many reasons why people choose to back out of their appointments. That being said, what they tend to underestimate is the importance of regular checkups and dental cleanings.

Benefits of Dental Cleaning

Aside from maintaining aesthetics and keeping up with that Hollywood smile, there are many benefits that come with dental cleanings. A few of which include:

  • Combatting tooth decay and cavities, typically caused by tartar and plaque buildup.
  • Periodontitis (gum disease) prevention; a condition that generally results in early tooth loss but can be prevented with regular cleanings.
  • Detecting oral cancers and diseases. According to researchers, it is estimated that, among Canadians, the 5-year net survival for oral (mouth) cancer is at 64%. However, these odds of survival and recovery are known to drastically vary depending on how early or late it is detected. For this reason, routine cleanings and oral checkups are strongly advised as your dentist will be able to find and handle any abnormalities as early as possible.

Types of Dental Cleaning

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning, also known as Prophylaxis or preventative cleaning, is usually performed on those with good overall dental health since it is primarily regarded as a way to maintain optimal oral hygiene.

A regular cleaning/prophylaxis appointment is generally focused on cleaning the gum line and the outer layer of the teeth.

“What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?” you may ask? Well, the procedure begins with the removal of any surface built-up tartar and plaque using a metal scaler. As the dental hygienist works to diligently remove them, if the client has inflamed and sensitive gums, a little bleeding may occur. After scaling, those pearly whites are then polished and flossed to remove any remaining tartar and provide them with that crystal-clean look.

Depending on if the dentist deems it necessary, he/she may also suggest an x-ray screening prior to the actual cleaning. In such cases, the dental hygienist will move to take photos while placing thin films in various areas of their client’s mouth.

Deep Cleaning

Also known as scaling and root planing, deep cleaning is mainly practiced on those affected by or at high risk of gum disease. Unlike regular prophylaxis appointments, deep cleaning sessions go beyond just cleaning the outer surface of the teeth and gum line.

During a dental deep cleaning, after scaling all the visible plaque and tartar on the surface, the hygienist will move to work on the gum pockets underneath; vacating the colonies of hardened bacteria attacking the enamel and then smoothening out the roots. If the circumstances call for it, anesthesia may also be used on the patient.

Full-mouth debridement

Full-mouth debridements, also known as gross debridements, are typically performed on patients who have accumulated a lot of plaque and tartar over time due to the constant postponing of teeth cleanings and dental appointments. It can be considered as a follow-up deep cleaning treatment. It is similar to a regular prophylaxis appointment, however, aside from a manual metal scraper, it requires the initial use of special electric tools to loosen and remove the stubborn hardened plaque and tartar around the teeth and gum line.

Periodontal maintenance

Periodontal disease is primarily the result of infections in the tissues and bones that support and keep the teeth intact. These infections are observed to stem from the colonization of harmful bacteria (found in plaque) near the gum line.

If left untreated, periodontitis will lead to tooth loss and can greatly increase the risk of developing other health complications (i.e heart disease, stroke, diabetes..). Sadly enough, this gum disease is irreversible if detected beyond the gingivitis stage. During the later stages, the goal of treatment is only to manage the symptoms and prevent the triggering of any other chronic inflammatory responses. This is where periodontal maintenance appointments are deemed essential. Seeing as periodontitis is a progressive disease, periodontal maintenance cleanings are to be performed every three to four months for the rest of the affected patient’s lifetime.

How much is a dental cleaning?

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “This sounds great and all but how much does a dental cleaning cost?”. After all, if you and your family are operating on a budget, that piece of information is only crucial to your survival.

Below are the average prices of the aforementioned cleaning services in Ontario.

  • A basic cleaning, excluding x-rays, will usually cost you $75 to $200 depending on the dental clinic and location. If x-rays are included in the prophylactic cleaning, the total cost will rise and fall anywhere between $100 to $300.
  • As deep cleaning involves the practice of scaling and root planing and is performed one quadrant at a time, the procedure is significantly steeper in price compared to regular cleaning. The price per quadrant costing between $100 to $500 and a full-mouth debridement ranging anywhere from $500 to $4000.
  • In Ontario, the median cost of a full-mouth periodontal maintenance treatment is around $3600.
  • If antibiotics are used, additional charges between $35 to $85 per tooth may be included in the payment total.

Please note that depending on the clinic and the insurance policy, the majority if not the entirety of the fees may in fact be covered.

Commonly Asked Questions

How long does a dental cleaning take?

On average, the majority of dental cleaning sessions last around thirty minutes to an hour. Depending on the severity and root of the issue, multiple appointments may be needed to achieve completion.

Can dental cleaning damage teeth? Is dental cleaning necessary?

If handled by a certified dentist, dental cleanings will not damage your teeth. While you may feel physical pain at times, the force employed by your dentist, even with their tools, is not strong enough to break or tear the enamel. However, what WILL cause damage to your teeth is any erosion caused by the long-term accumulation of bad bacteria, stemming from improper and irregular cleaning.

Why does dental cleaning hurt so much?

There are a few reasons why dental cleaning may cause you to feel pain. The main and by far most common one being sensitive gums. If inflamed, you will likely find the area around your gum line hurting and bleeding as the hygienist applies pressure when he/she is removing plaque and tartar buildup.

How often should you get a dental cleaning?

Generally speaking, it is recommended that patients go in for a cleaning or checkup at least once every six months. This will provide their dental team with the opportunity to identify and eliminate any potential oral health risks that may crop up at an early stage. In other cases, at-risk patients and those with subpar dental hygiene are suggested to book more frequent appointments, preferably every three to four months.

What happens if you never do a dental cleaning?

Dental cleaning is necessary to thoroughly purge trapped bacteria between teeth that are difficult to reach with at-home flossing and brushing. If left unattended, the bacteria may end up eroding and attacking the enamel. Moreover, without going in for regular checkups, any signs of oral cancer or other diseases will be left undiagnosed until it’s too late.

Can the dentist remove brown stains?

In a society where perfectly straight, white smiles are the beauty standard, having stains on your teeth can be extremely disheartening and may greatly bring down your confidence. That being said, you may find comfort in knowing that brown-stained teeth are not a rare occurrence and can be attributed to a variety of causes.

The list of factors including:

  • Being on a poor diet
    Bacteria is constantly gathering around the teeth and gums, often times hardening and forming what is known as plaque, tartar and calculus. When sugar is consumed, these strengthened colonies of bacteria attached to the teeth work to produce acid. Over time, if diet and hygiene are not managed, this constant spewing of acid will begin to erode the enamel and speed up tooth decay; in turn resulting in early tooth loss and discoloration. Moderation is key!
  • A lack of hygiene
    Despite it being common knowledge, a lot of people continue to neglect their oral hygiene. In order to avoid situations of discoloration and tooth decay, setting up and maintaining a proper dental care routine is essential. This means brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time, a minimum of twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste and flossing in-between and after meals. Not to mention keeping up with your dentist’s appointments!
  • Medication
    A lot of medications, especially when taken young, do in fact list teeth discoloration as a side effect. These include certain antibiotics (i.e tetracycline), antihistamines (i.e Benadryl), antipsychotics, and antihypertensive drugs.

Of course, while our clinic strongly believes in finding the crux of the issue and in prevention being the best cure, if you or someone you know already struggles with existing stains, you will be happy to hear that they are removable. During the process, a dentist or a dental hygienist will first work to scrape and polish the surface layers of the teeth. Following the removal of any plaque and tartar build-up contributing to the discoloration, the dentist may then be inclined to perform other protective and whitening procedures if requested by their client.

How can I remove tooth decay myself?

When it comes down to getting rid of cavities and reversing tooth decay, the acts of brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist present themselves as the safest and most effective options. Aside from that, reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, avoiding substance abuse and consuming nutrient-dense foods are all also great ways to get your teeth back on track and reduce the risk of any other future oral complications.

It’s time to take action!

Now that you understand the importance and the various types of dental cleanings, it is time you and/or your family find a clinic that is accommodating to your schedule and dental needs. In which case, if you are located near the Vaughan area, feel free to stop by our Mapleridge Dentistry.

Why Mapleridge Dentistry

Over here at Mapleridge Dentistry, everyone on our dental team always makes a constant effort to make sure our clients are on top of their oral health and hygiene. In light of this, we have even expanded our services and are now offering;

Same-day emergency treatments - In the event our clients experience any severe or concerning dental issues (i.e extreme pain and bleeding, oral infections..),

Extended hours - If extra time is necessary to complete a procedure or a session, our staff typically will not mind finishing up beyond working hours for our beloved clients

And virtual consultations - The addition of virtual consultations being especially helpful considering in-person consultations are no longer convenient or viable options following the Covid-19 lockdown. Of course, we also understand that booking online can sometimes be daunting. This is why we have simplified the process as much as possible; making virtual consultations readily available and extremely easy to schedule with just a few clicks.

To book:

  • Simply go to our consultation tab on our website
  • Pick your preferred date and time
  • Answer 3 quick and easy questions to help give us an idea and provide you with the necessary information

If you or someone you know would like to understand more about our clinic or practices, feel free to scroll through our website and/or chat with one of our representatives where we will answer all of your questions (regardless if it’s about financing, children’s dental cleaning, our dental cleaning supplies, treatment options, availability etc.) to the best of our abilities.

Want to talk to someone personally?

Simply call us at (289) 809-0015 or visit us in-person at 10175 Keele St. Unit 4, Maple ON, L6A 3Y9, Canada.