What is a dental cleaning?
You are brushing your teeth twice, or maybe even three times, every day and you always have some dental floss on you? If yes, great job! However, even such great personal dental care is, in the long run, insufficient to keep your teeth completely clean. Over time, plaque (dental calculus) builds up on the surface of...
You are brushing your teeth twice, or maybe even three times, every day and you always have some dental floss on you? If yes, great job! However, even such great personal dental care is, in the long run, insufficient to keep your teeth completely clean. Over time, plaque (dental calculus) builds up on the surface of your teeth and can cause awful inflammations of your gum. This is especially true for dental implants, dental crowns, and all other types of tooth replacements which, hence, need to be cleaned extra thoroughly. For this reason, dentists recommend that patients come see them 1-2 times every year for professional dental cleanings to significantly reduce the risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. A professional dental cleaning is performed either by the dentist himself/herself or by a dental hygienist and consists of the following 4 steps:
1. Remove dental calculus: Utilize instruments like a scaler, ultrasound, or Air Flow
2. Clear dental plaque: Clean inter-dental spaces with brushes and dental floss
3. Polish teeth: Apply dental polish with a brush to smooth tooth surface areas
4. Apply fluoride: Use fluoride gel to prevent the formation of cavities
The entire procedure takes, on average, 30-45 minutes and is generally completely pain-free for most patients. However, some patients may feel discomfort if their tooth necks are exposed or when the dentist attempts to clean out plaque that has built up underneath the gum line. After a professional dental cleaning, patients are advised to not eat or drink for at least 1 hour. Also crucial to know is the fact that even professional dental cleanings are not enough to remove 100% of all plaque that has built up underneath the gum line.
When do I need a dental cleaning?
As already mentioned, dentists recommend dental cleanings to their patients 1-2 times per year to minimize the risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Patients who have battled with periodontitis in the past should ideally have their teeth cleaned every 3 months. Professional dental cleanings, in conjunction with regular dental care (via brushing and flossing), are recommended for patients of all ages and genders and are sensible even for baby teeth (for children at the age of 4 and above) to accomplish the following preventative goals:
* Prevent formation of cavities
* Prevent gingivitis (inflammation of the gum)
* Prevent periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontium)
* Extend the lifetime of fillings and permanent and removable tooth replacements
How much does a dental cleaning cost?
The cost of a dental cleaning can vary significantly from dentist to dentist and will generally fall between € 60 and € 250. Private dental insurance policies usually cover 100% of the cost of this procedure. On the contrary, state insurers only pay for the basic removal of dental calculus once a year and pass on the entire cost of any more extensive professional cleanings to patients.
We hope that you found this primer helpful and invite you to take a look at our related blog post for more information.