Choosing Between Traditional or Laser Teeth Cleaning

Posted on: August 2, 2018

Going in for a teeth cleaning twice a year is an essential part of good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are good enough to remove the plaque and bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease, but it is not enough to prevent tartar accumulation from occurring over time.

Tartar is what plaque turns into when it is left on teeth for a few days. It is a calcified substance that facilitates gum disease and tooth decay. Tartar is also highly susceptible to staining and gives teeth a yellow color.

Most dental procedures have been traditionally performed with metal tools, and teeth cleanings are no exception. However, dental lasers are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. They can be used to perform many oral treatments, like a teeth cleaning, and often result in less pain and faster recovery times.

In order for patients to make an educated decision about which type of cleaning is right for them, they need to be aware of the key advantages and disadvantages of both types of cleanings.

Laser vs. traditional teeth cleaning

1. Traditional cleanings

Traditional dental cleanings involve the removal of plaque and tartar by scraping it off with a metal tool known as a scaler. It is a straightforward process that pretty much anyone is eligible for, regardless of past dental history. It is also a dental procedure that has been safely used for decades.


  • Safe procedure
  • Most people are eligible for traditional cleanings
  • A cheap procedure that is covered by most insurance plans


  • It takes longer than laser cleanings
  • Can lead to bleeding gums and pain
  • Involves the use of a few noisy tools that can lead to feelings of anxiety if the patient has dental phobia
  • Deep cleanings often lead to gum irritation

2. Dental Lasers

Lasers can now be used to remove tartar buildup on a person's teeth and inside the gums. This provides a thorough cleaning of the mouth, as the laser beams can penetrate soft tissue areas that scalers cannot.


  • Provides a deeper clean than a traditional dental cleaning
  • Does not involve the use of noisy equipment
  • Less likely to lead to anxiety
  • Higher levels of precision
  • More effective at treating gum disease


  • The more expensive option
  • Does not have the long track record traditional cleanings have

The next time you consider getting a deep dental cleaning, consider giving laser dentistry a try. While the differences between these two types of cleanings are not that significant when it comes to basic cleanings, they are worlds apart when it comes to deep cleanings underneath the gumline.

Traditional cleanings require the dentist to pull the gums with a metal tool before using a scaler to remove tartar. This often leaves the patient with sore and swollen gums after the procedure. Thanks to laser dentistry, it is now possible to remove tartar from underneath the gums without irritating them.

Contact one of our dentists to learn more about dental cleanings.

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