Teeth Cleaning and Periodontal Therapy

Teeth Cleaning is a process that removes plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from your teeth. This is important because excess bacteria can lead to gum disease.

A dental hygienist uses a small mirror and a tool called a scaler to scrape the surface of your teeth. You may hear some scraping, but it should not be painful. Read this first!


Teeth Scaling is an in-depth dental cleaning that removes plaque and tartar from teeth and the periodontal pockets. It is typically done by a hygienist with hand-controlled metal instruments or an electric scaler.

While routine dental cleanings remove the bacterial plaque that causes tooth decay from the surface of the teeth, they are not able to reach all areas of the teeth or beneath the gum line. If plaque and tartar build up underneath the gums, a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis develops.

Periodontal scaling and root planing, or SRP, is performed to treat periodontitis and prevent future problems like tooth loss. In addition to removing the bacteria and debris from under the gums, this treatment also smoothes the rough surfaces of the roots to prevent bacteria from adhering to them in the future.

Since this procedure removes the hardened calculus (tartar) from the root surface, you may experience temporary sensitivity. However, this should subside in a few days.

Root Planing

Sometimes called a deep cleaning, this periodontal therapy removes accessible calculus (tartar), plaque, and bacterial toxins from the tooth surface and underneath the gum line. It also helps halt a mild case of gum disease from progressing to periodontitis, which can lead to loose teeth and bone loss.

The first part of this procedure is called teeth scaling and involves scraping off the hardened plaque deposits that are found above and below the gum line. In some cases, a local anesthetic may be used to make this less painful.

Root planing is the next step and it involves smoothing the tooth roots to discourage bacteria from colonizing along the root surfaces. The smooth surfaces also encourage proper healing. After root planing, patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy mouth by brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, avoiding sugary foods, and visiting the dentist for maintenance appointments. It is important to return every 90 days for a follow-up appointment so that your dental professional can re-measure pocket depths and determine if any improvements have been made to the health of your teeth and gums.

Dental Air/Water Syringe

Used to spray air and water, a dental air/water syringe is a critical hand-held tool. Dentists, orthodontists, and hygienists use them to rinse away debris and dry patients’ teeth. They also connect to the dental unit to provide water sprays for rinsing mouths, surgical sites and instruments, and air for clearing saliva and blowing debris from areas being examined or restored.

Metal air/water syringe tips are born clean and new with smooth channels inside. However, the hostile sterilization environment exposes them to high temperatures and disinfectants that cause warping, corrosion, and other changes to their internal structure.

A recent study compared the contamination level of a single-use non-disposable (NDS) syringe tip to that of a multiple-use, sterilization-cycled NDS syringe tip. The results showed that the NDS syringe tip was more contaminated than the sterile multiple-use syringe tip and that the contaminant levels were reduced by undertaking the recommended flushing procedure at the end of the clinical session.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that builds strong teeth and fights bacteria that cause tooth decay. The mineral is often added to community water sources and dental products to promote healthy teeth and help reduce the risk of cavities.

When bacteria in the mouth eat sugars they produce acids that can attack and break down the protective enamel layer of the tooth, leading to tooth decay (cavities). Fluoride strengthens and repairs enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks and promoting remineralization.

A professional strength fluoride treatment is a safe, quick, and effective way to prevent and reduce tooth decay. During this treatment, your dentist will apply a high-concentration fluoride solution or gel directly to the surface of your teeth and exposed roots. The treatment is typically applied using a brush, swab, or tray and can be used in conjunction with your regular cleaning appointment. Patients should avoid consuming anything, especially liquids for 30 minutes after their fluoride treatment to allow their enamel to absorb the mineral and remineralize. Next blog post.