Dental Cleaning in Vancouver, WA

What are four types of dental cleanings?

The first cleaning is prophylaxis. This is when you're healthy, your gums are healthy, you floss every day, all we need to do is just remove a little bit of plaque and calculus, and everything is good. This usually happens once every six months. As long as you keep up with that, there should be no problems. Continue your brushing and flossing, and you will never have gum or bone problems in your life.

The second type of cleaning is scaling in the presence of inflammation. Although it sounds intimidating, it is not very different from a regular cleaning. A regular dental prophylaxis involves removing light calculus and plaque. Scaling in the presence of inflammation implies that more work is needed, but there is no bone loss around the teeth. We clean more plaque and calculus (or tartar) but the bone remains healthy. The gums, however, are inflamed. Cleaning out the plaque and calculus that has accumulated over the years allows the gums to return to health without bone loss. If you need scaling, get it done to keep your gums happy.

The third type of cleaning is scaling and root planing. This means that bone level has been lost, and the roots are exposed. To calm the gums and promote health, we clean the roots. Without this, the bone may resorb, causing the tooth to fall out of its socket. Scaling and root planing, commonly known as deep cleaning, involves cleaning deep underneath the gum around the tooth root to remove calculus and prevent gum irritation. This procedure is usually done under local anesthesia to prevent sensitivity.

After deep cleaning, we move to the fourth type of cleaning, which is periodontal maintenance. This is necessary to maintain the results of the deep cleaning. It's like doing a major house clean; after that, you only need to perform regular maintenance. Similarly, after a deep cleaning, we perform periodontal maintenance every three to four months to keep the gums healthy and prevent the need for another deep cleaning.

What happens if teeth are not cleaned regularly?

Despite our best hopes, not everyone achieves perfect oral hygiene. Everyone misses a bit of plaque and calculus, which is why professional cleaning every six months is necessary. When teeth are not cleaned regularly, plaque and tartar accumulate, housing bacteria that irritate the gums. This can lead to bone level reduction around the tooth root, causing teeth to become wobbly and eventually fall out. Regular cleanings prevent this, ensuring healthy teeth and gums.

Do regular dental cleanings improve your dental health?

Yes, absolutely. Regular dental cleanings reduce plaque and calculus, which in turn reduces inflammation, irritation, and bacteria, significantly improving dental health.

How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

If you're healthy, ideally twice a year. If you have had bone loss, three to four times a year is recommended.

How does a dentist do a deep cleaning?

We perform a deep cleaning by first numbing the area to prevent pain, as the procedure involves cleaning deep into the root of the tooth and gum. We use ultrasonic and manual instruments to smooth the tooth root and remove tartar and calculus. This helps the gums become healthy, pink, and firm, reducing bleeding during brushing or flossing. An x-ray is taken afterward to ensure that all tartar and calculus have been removed.

Do dental cleanings remove tartar?

Yes, they do. That's the primary purpose of dental cleanings.

Do dental cleanings make teeth whiter?

A dental cleaning does not change the intrinsic color of the tooth. It removes external stains from pigmented drinks and cigarette smoke, restoring the tooth to its original color. However, for intrinsic whitening, we offer take-home bleach services or in-house whitening services.

Does a hygienist's teeth cleaning usually hurt?

Dental cleanings do not usually hurt, but they can cause slight sensitivity, especially in areas where gums have receded. In such cases, you can ask your hygienist or dentist to use manual instruments or to numb the area.

How can I schedule a teeth cleaning appointment?

If you'd like to be seen here at Pacific Park Family Dental by my partner, Dr. Joe, or myself, please text or call 360-726-6107.

dental exam

A 6 month cleaning appointment will tackle hard to clean areas as well as give you a snapshot of your oral health.

What to Expect

At the Appointment


Duration usually 40-60 min

After Appointment


Possible sensitivity to cold for a few weeks

What it is

With normal function plaque, which is made up of left over food particles precipitates onto teeth creating a biofilm of food and bacteria.

Dental exam1

Overtime the settled biofilm of food and bacteria becomes calcified with calcium that is supplied by saliva. Once calcified the plaque becomes rough and hard turning into calculus.

Dental exam2

If not taken care of in timely manner calculus will irritate the gums making them tender and sensitive. This is called Gingivitis.

In Gingivitis only gums are affected however the bone level around the teeth remains healthy and unaffected.

dental exam3

Presence of Calculus can cause:

  • Inflamed gums
  • Sensitive gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain upon biting
  • Gum recession
  • Bone loss
  • Bad breath
  • Gum infection

Regular dental cleanings on a 6 month schedule help disrupt formation of calculus in order to maintain gingival health. This prevents heavy calculus build up and development of periodontal disease.

How the cleaning is accomplished

dental exam4

Once all the irritants are removed gums will start repairing themselves.

dental exam5

2 weeks after cleaning:

  • Gums become less sensitive
  • Bleeding stops
  • Discomfort resolves
  • Risk of recession is lowered
  • Risk of bone loss is lowered
  • Bad breath disappears