What Teeth Cleanings Will and Won’t Do

By Premier Dental of Ohio

teeth cleaning

There are many myths related to teeth cleanings.  If you have not had a professional teeth cleaning in a while (or ever), you need to know what is true and what is false about teeth cleanings.  This blog will answer many questions about what a teeth cleaning will and will not do.  Do not let a teeth cleaning myth keep you from scheduling a visit with one of our awesome dental hygienists!

Will a Teeth Cleaning Help with Bad Breath?


Almost all bad breath is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria.  The bad bacteria in our mouths loves to collect and clump together between the teeth, especially if we do not floss properly (which means at least once a day).

When a trained dental hygienist professionally cleans your teeth, he or she removes all of the bacteria buildup from the teeth.  You may even notice a bad smell while the cleaning takes place.  Then there is a fresh smell and clean taste once you are bacteria-free!

Will a Teeth Cleaning Whiten Teeth?

Kind of.

Teeth cleanings do not whiten the teeth, but they remove surface stains, which gives the teeth a whiter, brighter appearance.  Most people have habits that cause dark stains to accumulate over time on the surface of the teeth.  This includes drinking coffee, tea or red wine, smoking and using smokeless tobacco.  These habits cause the teeth to become gradually darker and more yellow over time.

After removing all of the bacteria from the teeth, a professional teeth cleaning also polishes the surface of the teeth.  This polishing process eliminates dark stains from the outer surface of enamel and creates a shiny, glossy texture that is more resistant to future staining.

Will a Teeth Cleaning Cause Infection?


In very rare cases, some people develop either an infection in their heart called bacterial endocarditis or an infection around a fake joint.  These situations are very rare.

If you are at risk for this infection, your medical doctor will demand that you have a prescription for antibiotics to take one hour before your teeth cleaning.  When antibiotics are taken preventively, these infections do not occur.  If you are concerned about this possibility, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician first to rule out any risk of infection from a teeth cleaning.

Will a Teeth Cleaning Damage Enamel?


All of the dental hygienists at Premier Dental of Ohio have been properly trained on the correct techniques and protocols for professional teeth cleanings.  An untrained person may pose some risk for enamel damage, but a registered dental hygienist will not.

Our hygienists easily see the distinction between bacterial buildup (tartar or calculus) and tooth enamel.  They will not confuse one with the other and make a mistake.

Will a Teeth Cleaning Make You Sick?


A professional teeth cleaning removes infection and inflammation from your mouth.  It leaves you with less bad bacteria in your body.

Teeth cleanings make you healthier!

Will a Teeth Cleaning Cause Gum Recession?


The teeth cleaning is not the cause of gum recession.  However, gum recession may be more obvious after a teeth cleaning because the gums lose puffiness and swelling that is associated with disease.  This can make the gums look like they are shrinking.

This process only happens when a patient already has periodontal disease.

Will a Teeth Cleaning Cause Sensitivity?


When the teeth are coated in hard bacteria (tartar or calculus), that buildup creates another layer of insulation around the teeth.  When your dental hygienist removes that bacteria layer, the enamel is more exposed.  It is like going outside without a coat on.  Your teeth can now feel hot and cold temperatures more easily.

If the teeth are healthy, this sensitivity will go away on its own within a few weeks of the teeth cleaning.

Will a Teeth Cleaning Hurt?


The answer to this question depends on the state of your teeth and gums.  If they are relatively healthy, then no.  It will not hurt.

If they are not healthy, the teeth cleaning could be uncomfortable.  Gingivitis is the state of inflammation in your gums.  It causes the gums to be red, puffy or swollen, and bleed easily.

The important thing to consider is that the only way to improve gingivitis is with a professional teeth cleaning.  Do not let the inflammation in your gums become a vicious cycle where you avoid your teeth cleanings because they are uncomfortable, and your teeth cleanings are uncomfortable because you avoid them.

Bite the bullet, and have your teeth cleaned sooner to get over the gingivitis.  Then the next teeth cleaning will not bother you.

Will a Teeth Cleaning Make Your Teeth Loose?


Just like the answer to the gum recession question above, the teeth cleaning itself does not make the teeth loose.  However, it can make the looseness of the teeth more obvious.  In some cases, the hard bacterial buildup actually holds the teeth together, making them feel more solid than they actually are.

That may make it seem like the bacterial buildup is a good thing.  Bacterial buildup on your teeth is never a good thing!  It always causes disease and progresses to total tooth loss if nothing is done about it.

Do You Need a Teeth Cleaning?

Call your nearest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a visit with our wonderful dental hygienists!  They can answer any question you have about teeth cleanings before you get started.

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