Even if you have the best possible oral hygiene habits, you still need to have a professional dental cleaning at Albany Smiles twice yearly. In addition to scaling, polishing, and fluoride treatment, we do a physical exam of your entire mouth to ensure that everything looks healthy and normal. An oral cancer screening is also performed. By regularly visiting our Albany, NY dental office, we can catch potential issues early while keeping your smile white, bright, and clean.
What happens during a dental cleaning?
Scaling, polishing, and fluoride treatment.
We also screen during your hygiene appointment for myofunctional disorders of the mouth.
We look for things like:
- Oral/facial muscle imbalance
- Poor tone of the tongue, lips, and cheeks
- Overactive lips and cheeks
- Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)
- Narrow dental arches
- Inability to breathe through the nose/mouth breathing
Scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces. Different types of scaling are used in relation to the amount of plaque and tartar that has built up. With more extensive deposits that have hardened on, it can take some time to remove. Picture how difficult it is to remove baked-on grime on a stove that hasn’t been cleaned for a long time. The number of times you will need to return to see Dr. Frank depends on how widespread your plaque and gum disease are. Localized cases can be treated in a single scaling session. However, cases that have spread throughout the mouth are often treated one-quarter of the mouth at a time. Such cases then require four visits to Albany Smiles.
Polishing is done using a slow-speed handpiece with a soft rubber cup that spins on the end. Prophy (short for prophylaxis) paste is a special gritty toothpaste-like material that is scooped up like ice cream into the cup and spun around on the teeth to make them shiny and smooth.
The purpose of scaling and polishing is to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria cannot stick to them. This also gives you a better chance of keeping your teeth clean during your regular home care. Scaling and polishing leaves your teeth feeling lovely, smooth, and clean — a wonderful feeling!
Fluoride treatment is the final step of dental cleaning. The fluoride helps strengthen the teeth since the acids from bacteria in dental tartar and plaque will have weakened the surfaces. It is best not to eat, drink, or rinse for 30 minutes after the fluoride application
If you have any questions, be sure to ask during your exam! Your exam is a great time to learn how to floss correctly, ask about a bump on your gums, or even get advice on the best toothbrush for you. Your oral health is important to us, and we love curious patients!