Tooth Cleaning and Polishing: Prophylaxis

Posted on: April 6, 2019

Tooth cleaning and polishing is an excellent way to ensure that tooth decay does not occur. While good oral hygiene is the best way to ensure cavities or other oral health concerns do not emerge, sometimes plaque can still harden on the surface of the teeth, in which case a tooth cleaning may be needed to remove the plaque buildup.

Tooth Cleaning and Polishing

There are various types of tooth cleanings or prophylaxis cleanings. By having a full understanding of what is involved in a tooth cleaning, what the differences are between the different types of tooth cleaning procedures and how tooth cleaning is beneficial, one can best determine how to implement tooth cleaning and polishing into their oral care routine.

The following is all of the most important information about tooth cleaning and polishing.

What is involved in tooth cleaning?

Every dentist may have a slightly different method of providing a tooth cleaning procedure, but there are certain elements that are common among most dentists.

Most tooth cleaning procedures have several different goals in mind, including removing plaque and bacteria from the surface of the teeth, from the gums and in the gum pockets. Therefore, almost every tooth cleaning involves removal of any hardened plaque and other harmful substances that built up over time on the surface of teeth or on or around the gums and gum line.

Many dentists also perform a scaling and root planing procedure, which involves smoothing the tooth root to remove any remaining plaque or bacteria. Additionally, many tooth cleaning procedures involve diagnostic testing to ensure there are not any underlying issues that cannot be noticed by oral examination alone.

Different types of tooth cleaning

Exactly what is involved in a tooth cleaning procedure depends highly on the type of tooth cleaning that is administered.

Essentially, there are three main types of tooth cleaning:

  • Regular prophylaxis
  • Gross debridement
  • Scaling and root planing

A regular prophylaxis cleaning refers to a normal cleaning that is typically performed on individuals with an already healthy mouth. In the event there are not any signs of gum disease, severe plaque buildup or any other oral health concerns, a regular prophylaxis cleaning may be all that is needed. If gum disease exists, a gross debridement or scaling and root planing may be needed.

In many instances, a tooth cleaning combines multiple types of cleanings in the same procedure.

Benefits of tooth cleaning

There are many benefits of tooth cleaning, and some are more obvious than others. The obvious benefits of tooth cleaning include removing tartar and plaque buildup, freshening breath and removing unpleasant stains on the surface of teeth.

However, tooth cleaning can also help individuals notice oral health concerns that they may have never noticed without a trip to the dentist for the prophylaxis, such as the development of gum disease, the formation of a cavity or the effects of grinding teeth at night.

By receiving a routine tooth cleaning several times each year, you can keep your mouth healthy and your smile looking great.

Are you considering tooth cleaning in the Auburn area? Get more tooth cleaning information at

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