Types of Dental Cleaning

dental cleaningWhen you think of dental cleaning, do you automatically picture a visit to the hygienist for your six-month checkup? Most people do—yet there are actually three different types of dental cleanings that we can perform, depending on the health of a patient’s mouth.

Oral Health and Dental Cleaning

Poor oral hygiene can lead to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which then causes inflammation and gum disease. Gum disease develops in two stages:

Gingivitis: This is inflammation of the gums, the first stage of gum disease. Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed by seeing your dentist regularly and getting the proper cleaning done, then following up with good oral hygiene. With gingivitis, you may have inflamed gums that can be painful and bleed when you brush your teeth. They may also be bright red or purple and may cause bad breath. If you allow gingivitis to progress it can lead to something far more serious:

Periodontal Disease: When gingivitis continues for too long untreated, the gums will begin to recede or pull away from the teeth and form “pockets.” These pockets hold bacteria and become infected. Periodontal disease can destroy gum tissue, wear away the jawbone, and lead to tooth loss. Additionally, the receding gum can make the teeth look longer since more tooth surface is visible. Other symptoms of periodontal disease are pain when chewing, ulceration of gums, swollen lymph nodes, and pain in the jaw and ear area which can also radiate down into the neck.

Risk factors for Gum Disease

The two most common risk factors for gum disease are poor oral hygiene, as mentioned above, and lack of regular dental care. Other risk factors include medications that cause dry mouth, chronic health conditions, smoking, age, and vitamin deficiencies. 

Some people may not be able to afford regular and preventative care, while others may have an extreme phobia about going to the dentist. Yet, good oral hygiene and regular dentist visits are vital for your oral health. 

Additionally, your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Oral bacteria and infections can directly affect your overall health and contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other types of inflammation. Click HERE to learn more about how your oral health impacts your overall health.


New patients, please call us at (210) 880-4120

Or fill out the form below and we will contact you!


3 Types of Dental Cleaning

Now that you understand how important dental cleaning is to your oral health, let’s go over the three types of dental cleaning we can perform—and when we perform each one.

dental cleaningProphylaxis Cleaning

This is the routine dental cleaning that your dental hygienist performs at your six-month or annual checkup. During this cleaning, the hygienist removes any plaque buildup, calculus (hardened plaque), and surface tooth staining. Prophylaxis cleaning also polishes the tooth surface. We recommend this type of cleaning be done twice a year. 

Scaling and Root Planing

This is also known as deep cleaning. We perform scaling and root planing when a patient shows signs of gingivitis or early periodontitis. This type of dental cleaning removes plaque from the teeth and all the way down to where the gum and bone meet. We also smooth out the roots which will allow the gums to reattach to the teeth. As we numb the gums for this procedure, the patient feels no discomfort.

Gross Debridement

If a patient hasn’t had their teeth professionally cleaned in many years, plaque and tartar may have built up considerably. When this happens, the dentist may be unable to complete a thorough examination of the mouth and teeth, and a gross debridement is needed first. This procedure helps remove extensive plaque and tartar buildup from teeth and under gums. Once the gross debridement is completed, the dentist can then perform a thorough exam on another date and proceed accordingly with any applicable treatment.

No matter the type of dental cleaning you may need, rest assured that we will perform it with the utmost care. And of course, oral hygiene is vital in between dental visits to maintain good oral health.



Oral Hygiene Tips

  • While both a manual and a powered toothbrush work well, studies have shown that powered brushes are more effective at removing plaque. If an electric or battery-operated toothbrush is not workable, a regular manual toothbrush will also do the job.
  • Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) at least every three months. Toothbrushes are not as effective at cleaning teeth after they wear out.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush. A medium or hard-bristled toothbrush can cause your gums to bleed.
  • Brush with gentle circular motions and clean both the fronts and backs of teeth.
  • Floss at least once a day. Flossing gets into those hard-to-reach places where particles can hide and cause plaque build-up and cavities.
  • Brush your tongue to remove any bacteria that may be lurking there.
  • Use a mouth rinse such as a mild mouthwash or saline and water. Hydrogen peroxide is also effective at killing bacteria in the mouth.
  • See your dentist for regular checkups and dental cleanings.

We Strive to Make Your Dental Cleaning Experience a Pleasant One

Your experience at Rolling Oaks is designed to be effortless and painless from the moment you walk into our clinic until the moment you leave. Our team is friendly, welcoming, and ready to help you make the best of your appointment! 

Insurance and Payment Plans

We try to make it easy for everyone to have a beautiful smile. Each individual is different and so are your treatment plans. Our insurance coordinator will work with your insurance company to ensure that you receive your maximum benefits. 

We are also happy to accept Care Credit for your dental care. 

COVID-19 Protocols

We recognize that the virus has required all of us to be more mindful as we go through our daily activities, and we take the health of you and our staff very seriously. We want to reassure you that we are taking every precaution to continue to serve our patients in a completely safe and hygienic clinical environment. All of our treatment rooms are private with closed doors, limiting the risk of exposure and allowing social distancing. We take every patient’s health very seriously. Specific steps we are taking include:

  • We disinfect areas of the clinic repeatedly throughout the day between patients.
  • No waiting in the waiting room — you simply fill out any new patient forms online before your appointment.
  • When you arrive at the clinic, you will be taken back to a disinfected treatment room.
  • We thoroughly sanitize each room after each patient.
  • Dr. Dougherty and all staff wear masks and gloves and change them out after each patient.
  • We are currently not treating any patients with any possible symptoms of illness or who have had potential contact with anyone who is sick. If you have recently traveled, we also ask that you kindly wait 14 days before coming into the clinic to ensure you do not develop any symptoms.

New patients, please call us at (210) 880-4120

Or fill out the form below and we will contact you!