Preventing Gum Disease

Teeth Cleaning to Prevent Gum Disease

What is Tooth Cleaning and Polishing?

Professional tooth cleaning is the process of removing hard and soft calculus or tartar from your teeth and gums. It is also known as scaling the teeth or tooth hygiene. This tartar builds up on everybody’s teeth, no matter how well you clean them at home. It is a little bit like scale building up in a drain. If left, the rough nature of the tartar collects bacteria and prevents them from being cleaned away with your toothbrush at home. Your gums then have to work extra hard to clear the bacteria remaining. This damages them and my lead to bad breath or bleeding gums. Ultimately, your gums start to recede and teeth become loose. Once the gums and bone have receded, we can’t grow them back. This is gum disease. It is preventable, but is very hard to fix once the problem has progressed.

Why is professional tooth cleaning needed?

No matter how well you brush and floss your teeth at home, the minerals in your saliva (calcium, phosphate, etc.) combine to form hard, porous coral-like deposits around your gum line. These deposits are called calculus or tartar and can be white, yellow, brown or even black. If we leave the deposits around the gums for too long, eventually the gums shrink away. We can’t grow this gum back, so it is best to prevent it happening in the first place. This is why we like to clean your teeth every six months.

How is professional tooth cleaning performed?

The scale or tartar is gently removed using special instruments which do not harm the gums or teeth. We use small instruments that gently vibrate around your teeth to knock off the hard deposits. These instruments also emit a cooling spray of water to increase comfort. The excess water will be efficiently cleaned up by our dental team as the dentist is cleaning. You may also notice a high-pitched whistling sound. This sound might seem loud as it is amplified in your head (the same way an electric toothbrush seems loader once you put it in your mouth). The time it takes to clean your teeth depends upon how long the deposits have been there and how much calculus there is. Like gardening, a garden that is cared for weekly will be much easier to maintain than a garden cared for yearly. A final polish with a course polishing paste is used to leave the teeth feeling smooth and shiny. Polishing involves using a high-tech electric toothbrush with a rubber polishing cup containing gritty toothpaste to clean the last of the softer deposits off your teeth, leaving them shiny and white.

Does it hurt?

For most people, tooth cleaning and polishing does not cause discomfort, but if your teeth are already sensitive to cold food and drinks, the water spray we use might cause some discomfort. However, we use warm water to minimise this discomfort and we can place a numbing gel or liquid on your gums to alleviate any pain. In severe cases, we can still clean your teeth with hand instruments (rather than powered instruments). Hard instruments don’t produce any water but take a lot longer to use. Usually a combination of powered and hand instruments is used when cleaning teeth.

How much does it cost?

Tooth cleaning costs $160. Most of the time, one session of tooth cleaning is all that is required. Sometimes, an extra one or two appointments might be needed if there is extensive calculus, or if you have advanced gum disease. This is generally the case if you haven’t had your teeth cleaned for over 5 years. In these cases, each session will cost $250 and a quote for all sessions will be outlined at your first examination appointment.


Consultations are only $85 or gap-free with your health fund.
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