Patient Cleaning

All of our cleanings here at Harris Family Dentistry are performed by registered dental hygienists who are licensed oral health care professionals that have completed extensive education and clinical preparation in preventive oral health care. Our hygienists take part in continuing education annually to stay up-to-date on knowledge of modern dentistry.


Types of Dental Cleaning

  1. Standard prophylaxis If a patient has good daily oral hygiene (brushing twice daily and flossing once daily), has no signs of periodontal disease, and has had regular dental cleanings at least every six months, then a standard prophylaxis (cleaning) is performed. Generally, this treatment would be performed on a patient that has 1 to 3 mm pockets depths, some isolated 4 mm pockets, and a mild to moderate amount of plaque and calculus build up.
  2. Full Mouth Debridement This type of cleaning is typically performed on patients who have not had a cleaning in 1 year or more. A full mouth debridement is performed when the patient has more than a normal amount of plaque and calculus build up and some probing depths great than 3 mm with inflammation of the gums. A full mouth debridement requires more time with the hygienists than a regular cleaning, as well as the use of equipment such as the cavitron or the prophy jet. Some patients may require anesthesia to be comfortable. We schedule for a follow up, usually 3 months later, and perform a regular cleaning. At this appointment, a new assessment of the periodontal health is done. We will then make a recommendation for either regular cleanings with a 3, 4 or 6 month recall or for more extensive periodontal therapy, if needed.
  3. Scaling and Root Planning This type of cleaning is typically performed on patients who have not had their teeth cleaned for several years or more. Generally, a patient who needs scaling and root planing, could not comfortably have a regular cleaning. This treatment is necessary when a patient has generalized pocketing of 4 mm or more with a generalized buildup accumulation of plaque, buildup of calculus, a lot of gingival inflammation and areas of the gums that bleed to touch or floss. This treatment is scheduled in two appointments. At each appointment, one side of the mouth will be anesthetized and cleaned with hand scalers as well as the ultrasonic instruments and then polished. The patient may be given a prescription (Periomed) to rinse with that will help repair tissues and kill bacteria in the mouth. After both sides of the mouth have been cleaned, the patient is scheduled for a cleaning in 3 months. At this appointment, we will recommend either a three, four or six month recall for cleanings.

There are different instruments we may use to perform these services depending on the patient’s conditions and needs.

  1. Cavitron – mechanized instrument which vibrates and uses a fluid stream to help remove calculus. Usually used for removal of heavy calculus within pockets or above the gum.
  2. Scalers – Hand activated instruments used to remove debris, plaque or calculus from the teeth.
  3. Prophyjet – Combination of air, water, and polishing agent to polish difficult stains (tobacco, teas, coffee, foods, soft drinks) away from tooth surfaces that are present on the outermost surfaces of the teeth.