Professional teeth cleaning: everything you need to know

This page is for information only. DrSmile does not (yet) offer this treatment.
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Professional tooth cleaning involves intensive cleaning of the teeth and is the main component of dental prophylaxis. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned with special instruments, which removes plaque and thereby reduces the risk of tooth decay and periodontitis. Professional teeth cleaning thus makes up for the deficiencies of conventional oral hygiene and cleans the areas that cannot be reached during daily brushing. 

But how does this professional teeth cleaning actually work, and does it really make sense? And how much does it cost? You can find out this and much more about professional teeth cleaning here.

How much sense does it make to have your teeth professionally cleaned?

Since professional teeth cleaning is a private health service, many patients ask themselves whether such intensive cleaning of the teeth is necessary at all. In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves, but there are still reasons why professional teeth cleaning makes sense. First of all, it serves as a dental prophylaxis by removing plaque and tartar, which lowers the risk of dental diseases such as tooth decay or periodontitis. On the other hand, discolouration is removed, which ultimately creates a lighter tooth appearance.

In the end, professional cleaning only really makes sense if the oral hygiene instructions given by the dentist are also followed at the same time as part of daily dental care. 

Professional teeth cleaning: here are the differences 

The difference between professional teeth cleaning and prophylaxis lies in the distinction between these two terms. The professional clean is the building block of preventive dental care and thus part of prophylaxis. During prophylaxis, the dentist examines the condition of the teeth and tells the patient about proper dental care at home. The actual professional clean is carried out by a qualified assistant or dental hygienist as part of prophylaxis. Tartar removal is also different from a professional teeth cleaning. In contrast to the professional clean, only hard plaque, i.e., the tartar, is removed during a tartar removal. However, the professional clean will also ensure that plaque is removed, i.e., the soft coatings. A professional clean also removes bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay and inflamed gums, like with periodontitis. 

What happens at a professional teeth cleaning?

Frau beim Zahnarzt Zahngesundheit

After the dentist or dental hygienist has got an idea of your teeth at the start of the prophylactic treatment, and has thoroughly examined and documented them, the actual teeth cleaning begins. First of all, hard (tartar) and soft deposits on the teeth (plaque), above and below the gums, will be removed. After that, the teeth and interdental spaces will be cleaned and then polished and smoothed using a fluoride-containing paste. The last step of the professional clean involves a fluoride varnish or gel being applied to make it more difficult for new plaque to form and to prevent tooth decay and inflammation of the gums. At the end, you will have a final consultation with your dentist, who will give you instructions on correct oral hygiene. A professional teeth cleaning takes about an hour. 

Professional teeth cleaning: these devices are used

Professional teeth cleaning

Different devices are used for professional teeth cleanings To make plaque such as tartar and plaque identifiable, disclosing tablets are used to colour the plaque. This is then removed using manual instruments like scalers and curettes, or with special airflow and ultrasound devices. To clean the interdental spaces, dental floss and dental devices like interdental brushes and scrapers are also used. A jet of water and salt helps to remove discoloration, which is mainly caused by semi-luxury goods such as coffee or cigarettes, and which is then removed using a powder jet device. A heated mixture of air, water and a special cleaning salt is blown into the interdental spaces and each furrow. The teeth are then polished with a rotating rubber cup or rotating brush and sealed. To protect the tooth enamel, a special fluoride varnish is applied at the end of the professional clean, which makes it more difficult for new deposits to form and reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Is professional teeth cleaning painful? 

Professional teeth cleaning is usually not painful. Nevertheless, a professional clean can be perceived as uncomfortable, which is above all the case in patients with particularly sensitive teeth, when the tooth necks are exposed, or when cleaning the gum line. Persistent pain during or after the treatment is usually ruled out, as is having one's teeth cleaned under anaesthesia. However, if such cases as mentioned above do occur, local anaesthesia can be considered, which is implemented by applying a gum gel. 

Can I eat after cleaning my teeth?

After a professional teeth cleaning, you shouldn't eat anything for about an hour. Likewise, you should avoid consuming foods that promote discolouration, such as coffee, wine or carrots. Smoking should also be avoided for about eight hours after the professional clean.

What does a professional teeth cleaning cost? 

The price for a professional teeth cleaning ranges from around 80 to 120 pounds The costs depend on the condition of the individual teeth in question and the number of teeth. The cost of a professional clean can also fluctuate depending on the amount of effort and time required, the practice and the region. Additional services such as removing plaque and tartar under the gum line and cleaning with special devices such as an ultrasound or powder blasting device increase the price of the professional clean.

Is tooth cleaning paid for by health insurance?

Professional teeth cleaning is a private health service. The current health insurance providers will not assume the complete costs. However, some health insurance providers grant an annual subsidy and thus partially cover the costs of the professional clean. Basically, who assumes what costs depends on whether the patient is a statutory health insurance patient, a private patient or a child.

How often should you have a professional teeth cleaning?

How often you should have a professional teeth cleaning performed per year heavily depends on the condition of your teeth and any pre-existing illnesses. However, in any case, you should visit a dentist at least once a year to have a professional clean performed. 

Professional teeth cleaning despite braces?

Professional teeth cleaning is also possible for patients with braces. In this case, only the arches and additional parts of the braces are removed for the professional clean, and they are then reinserted after the end of the treatment.

Is having a teeth cleaning good for your teeth?

There is a lot to discuss when it comes to the pros and cons of professional teeth cleaning. One thing is certain, however: as a prophylactic measure, the professional clean is a sensible dental treatment for preventing gingivitis and tooth decay. Another benefit of having your teeth professionally cleaned is brighter and whiter teeth thanks to cleaning up discolouration.

Just like other dental treatments, professional teeth cleaning also involves certain risks. Since the teeth are very sensitive after the treatment, the risk of infection is increased in the first few hours after the treatment. This is sometimes to blame for bacteria being set free during treatment. Another disadvantage is the teeth being roughened due to the special instruments that are used during the professional clean. However, the subsequent fluoridation counteracts this risk.

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Straight teeth with DrSmile

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