What Kind Of Cleaning Does My Smile Need?

A routine dental cleaning is crucial for maintaining healthy smiles, as this is the only way to truly remove all plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth. But did you know there are two very different kinds of cleaning? One is part of your routine care, and the other is essential for reversing gingivitis and treating the early stages of gum disease. What kind of cleaning does your smile need? When should you see your Des Moines, IA, dentist?

Regular Appointments

An ordinary tooth cleaning is essential, as this is the only way to remove plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from your smile. Plaque forms when harmful bacteria break down stray food particles, leaving behind a sticky layer on the teeth. Over time, this layer begins to wear down and erode tooth enamel, and irritate and inflame gum tissue. Soon, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease rises significantly. However, every six months when you stop in for a cleaning, we will use an ultrasonic scaler and a manual tool to remove all buildup from the surfaces of the smile. The process only takes a few minutes to complete, and we then polish your teeth, which helps brighten them (and freshen your breath too). You then leave with a healthier smile!

Scaling and Root Planing

If you begin to experience soreness in the gums, or notice redness or bleeding, then you could be suffering from inflammation, known as gingivitis, or possibly the early stages of gum disease. A deep cleaning, also known as a scaling and root planing, could help reverse gingivitis, or manage gum disease to prevent the later stages, stages linked to adult tooth loss and other complications! Again, we will use an ultrasonic scaling device, only this time we will remove buildup from the teeth and the roots as well. Since the buildup will be more substantial, this is a more involved procedure and could take between one and four visits to complete. Afterward, routine visits every three to four months could help manage the disease and safeguard your smile.

Keeping Them Clean at Home

Brushing and flossing at home doesn’t remove plaque, but it does limit how much can accumulate in between your office visits. You should brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles. Each session should take no less than two minutes. You also need to floss thoroughly before bed as well!


We want to help you avoid the onset of serious oral health issues. To learn more about our preventive treatment options, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in downtown Des Moines, IA, at (515) 244-9565.