Dental cleanings are preventive. They are designed to remove the bacteria that cause disease. Most of these bacteria are Streptococcus. However, these bacteria form a complex unit called a bacterial biofilm. Other bacteria that inhabit teeth and surrounding tissues are Actinomyces and Fusobacterium. Left undisturbed the bacteria in this biofilm secrete toxins. The toxins are contained in the plaque and tartar (calculus) cause decay and gum disease. Additionally, there is a growing body of evidence that these bacteria have detrimental effects to your overall health through inflammation. While almost any dental professional can remove these harmful substances from your teeth, the professional that educates you on this process is providing you a great service.

The hygienist or dentist will use a combination of tools. One tool that has revolutionized teeth cleaning is the ultrasonic instruments that vibrate very fast. These vibrations disrupt the biofilm on your teeth and allow healthy bacteria to repopulate your teeth and gums. Further, hand instruments like scalers, curettes, and graceys are sharp steel instruments. They are used to remove heavy deposits of calculus off your teeth. It is important that the professional does not over instrument your teeth and remove excess tooth structure like cementum or enamel. Another important tool in tooth cleaning is the prophylaxis cup and paste. A dentist has choices in the paste used: they come in different grits and tastes. Choosing the right grit for your personal needs during a tooth cleaning is also a small detail that can make a big difference.

During a cleaning, it is important for the job to be accomplished. If it has been awhile since your last cleaning, it is sometimes necessary for a dentist to help you be comfortable during this procedure. In cases of advanced gum disease, the gums around your teeth become inflamed. This can cause a lot of sensitivity during your cleaning. Additionally, some people have recession of the gums and this process has left their teeth sensitive to cold water. In these cases, a pain free administration of anesthesia can be very comforting. Occasionally, after a deep cleaning your dentist will need to discuss with you advanced options to treat your teeth and gums.

One thing that separates many hygienists is their gentleness. Being sensitive to your unique needs is important. The powerful instruments that can be used during a tooth cleaning need to be used judiciously. If over-instrumentation occurs, the teeth can become more prone to biofilm accumulation and can cause sensitivity. These sharp instruments also can hurt the gums if placed inappropriately. Taking the time to remove the buildup that can accumulate on teeth is important. Additionally, using magnification during cleaning can help the clinician do a great job.

Your time during a dental cleaning is a great opportunity to get information about your health. Your dentist and hygienist are uniquely trained to guide you on a path to a better life. Your dentist has tips on stopping smoking, losing weight, eating healthier, and having a healthier smile. Discussions on brushing and flossing are very important during this time and should help you do a great job with your home care. Finally, after a great dental cleaning, the teeth and gums should feel clean and now can be accurately examined. This all should be accomplished in a comfortable and pain free way.

For more information on our office, visit our website at

Alex Krempa, D.M.D.

6350 Airport Blvd.
Mobile, Alabama 36608
(251) 344-0230

[email protected]

Alex Krempa, D.M.D.