Examination and Periodontal Charting
Teeth cleaning sessions are typically conducted by dental hygienists. Before any cleaning takes place, the dental hygienist will examine your teeth, gums, and other areas of the mouth. The hygienist will use a dental probe to examine the health of the gums.
This process, known as “periodontal charting,” examines the pocket depth of the gums. The hygienist will usually call out a series of numbers to an assistant. If you hear a ‘1’ or ‘2,’ it usually means that portion of the gums is free of inflammation and likely healthy.
The reason oral prophylaxis is so important is that cavities, gingivitis, periodontal disease (gum disease), periodontitis (gum infection), and tooth decay usually begin as plaque and tartar buildup. What’s more, tartar becomes a cement-like substance that can only be removed with specialized dental instruments. To eliminate plaque and tartar, the dental hygienist will likely perform the following:
- General Cleaning
- Root Planing
- Tooth Polishing
- Manual Flossing