Professional Teeth Cleanings

Professional teeth cleaning.Even if you brush and floss your teeth faithfully, it is important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. (Of course, if you aren't quite so meticulous about your oral hygiene, it's even more important!) After a thorough cleaning, your teeth will feel smooth and squeaky-clean, and they will probably look a lot brighter too. But professional teeth cleanings aren't done for looks alone.

Why do your teeth need this kind of attention? Essentially, it's because over time they tend to build up a layer of plaque (a sticky, bacteria-rich film) and hard deposits (called tartar, or calculus) that are very difficult to remove without special tools. When these deposits are allowed to remain on the tooth surfaces or below the gum line, they provide ideal conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply. The acids produced by some bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease; if left uncontrolled, this can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums, and possibly influence systemic (whole body) diseases.

Dentists have a special term for preventive procedures like tooth cleaning: prophylaxis, from the Greek word meaning to protect or guard against. In this case, the focus is on preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Performed in conjunction with a routine dental examination, a professional cleaning can go a long way toward controlling these two common maladies. While your teeth are being cleaned, it's also a good opportunity to take a close look at your oral health in general and check for a few specific problems.

The Professional Cleaning Procedure

Teeth cleaning is often performed by a dental hygienist — a highly trained technician who uses a special set of tools designed just for this purpose. Because everyone's teeth are a little different, your cleaning will be tailored to your particular needs. However, many cleanings follow a similar pattern.

First, the dental hygienist will do an oral examination to evaluate the health of your oral tissues. Then the cleaning will take place using either an ultrasonic scaler or metal instruments referred to as curettes to remove the plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. The ultrasonic scaler is a hand-held tool with a tiny tip that vibrates at a very high frequency. Hardened deposits are broken up by the rapid movement of the tip, which does not damage the tooth. A constant stream of liquid (called lavage) serves to cool the tip and aid in plaque removal; at the same time, it also washes away the debris.

Some hygienists prefer curettes, which are hand-held instruments that are curved and tapered to fit around and in between the teeth. If your teeth are sensitive, using hand-held instruments may be more comfortable for a professional cleaning. In the capable hands of a hygienist or dentist, it takes only moderate pressure to remove any stubborn buildup and scrub the teeth clean, regardless of which instruments are used.

Finally, your teeth are polished with a low-speed rotary brush fitted with a soft rubber tip. A slightly gritty, toothpaste-like gel is applied, and the tip spins around and polishes the teeth, making them smooth and shiny.

A Requirement for Good Oral Health

Most people don't feel any noticeable discomfort during dental cleanings; some even report they enjoy the experience — especially the dramatic results when it's done! If you haven't had a cleaning in a while, however, it may take you a few moments to get used to getting your teeth cleaned. If you experience any discomfort, however, it may be possible to apply a topical numbing gel or another type of anesthetic.

If your gums are irritated due to bacterial buildup, they may become sore or bleed slightly during the cleaning. It may be possible to prevent this from occuring in the future with oral hygiene measures you can perform at home (such as improved flossing techniques or special mouthrinses); it might also indicate that you need more frequent in-office cleanings. This type of regular maintenance will help you avoid more involved dental procedures down the road — and it will give you the best chance of keeping your teeth for life!

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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "This office at Washington Street in Wellesley is incredibly well run. Everybody is friendly and very professional.

    Lyn Galante cleans my teeth very thoroughly and gently and gives me good dental health advice.

    Suzanne Gendell is a fabulous dentist, a thoughtful and very pleasant person, and I trust her implicitly.

    When people say "I hate to go to the dentist" I always respond "I don't!""
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  • "Dr. Harrison is the BEST dentist I have ever had. He is an expert in the art of dentistry, He explains procedures in detail and answers all questions and concerns completely. He is very professional and easy to talk to. I always feel confident that the work he performed is of the highest quality. I would highly recommend him."
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    During the next few weeks, so many people in my life noticed how much younger I look. My forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet are gone.
    I highly recommend Dr. Inna for all dental and cosmetic procedures."
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  • "I was nervous to go to my dental appointment during a pandemic, but they made a lot of changes in their office and procedures to address the COVID situation. This made me feel safer and more comfortable, and of course, the continued excellence & quality of the care provided by the staff at this office remains the same as always."
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  • "Lynn is great. Fast and comfortable. And fun to talk to. Very personable."
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  • "Fantastic cleaning. Good attention to Covid safety."
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  • "Susie the hygenist did a fabulous job cleaning my teeth! Everyone at the office is warm and friendly. I highly recommend this dental office!"
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  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Burnett for the past two years at Metro West Dental. The office is very clean and welcoming and the staff are always polite and knowledgeable.
    *Parking is also a plus*
    I started seeing Dr.Burnett for Botox that started out cosmetically. Dr.Burnett made the experience very pleasant from my first time and has stayed that way till now! Dr.Burnett had suggested that I try the Botox for my clenching and it has HELPED tremendously. I’m very thankful for her ability to make me feel beautiful and confident in her care."
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  • "My visit with Dr. Harrison was exceptional. The office was so organized and extremely clean and organized. I felt safe and well taken care of during my visit. Tina was attentive, competent and so friendly. Dr. Harrison has always maintained a A+++ office. Highest quality of dental care ! Thank you!"
    Carole Anne Parisi
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    Leah Salloway