Dental Cleaning: How Your Teeth Can Be Whitened Without A Whitening Treatment

The first step to improving the appearance of your smile is diligently cleaning your teeth at home. The second step is attending your regular dental checkups, which allow for minor issues (such as the formation of early micro-cavities) to be caught while still in their infancy. But you might be convinced that your smile can only be improved if you whiten your teeth. This is a matter of opinion, yet even teeth whitening should begin with a visit to your dentist—even if they don't whiten your teeth.

A Dental Cleaning 

A routine dental checkup involves a dental cleaning. This process scales your teeth to remove calcified plaque (also known as tartar). Plaque starts as a sticky biofilm of bacteria on your tooth enamel. At this point, it can be removed with brushing and flossing. If it remains in place, it hardens and becomes tartar, which can corrode the tooth structure under it. Scaling is the only way to get rid of tartar before it begins to corrode your tooth enamel. But how does this relate to whitening your teeth?

Healthy Enamel

Teeth whitening is most successful on healthy dental enamel, and you can't in fact whiten dental plaque or tartar. It's like painting a wall that has a poster firmly stuck to it—the results will definitely be unsatisfactory. Tartar removal by way of professional dental cleaning puts you in a much better position to successfully whiten your teeth. And yet there's more on offer during this deceptively simple procedure.

Tooth Polishing

Dental cleaning features tooth polishing, usually as one of the final stages. This uses an abrasive paste, which will feel slightly gritty. A small rubber attachment (called a prophy cup) is fitted to the mechanical handheld dental tool, which then rotates at high speeds, using the abrasive paste to polish the surfaces of your teeth.

Stain Removal

These surfaces are made of highly-mineralized dental enamel, and the speed of rotations combined with the grittiness of the polishing paste has a stain-removal effect. Surface stains (known as extrinsic stains) in the upper levels of your dental enamel can in fact be removed. The process has a whitening effect in that it returns your dental enamel to its natural white or off-white color. This actually gives you a more accurate baseline for future whitening, since it gives you a neutral starting point.

Professional dental cleaning perhaps won't whiten your teeth to the desired shade but offers a good place to start from. So instead of heading out to buy a whitening kit, you should be scheduling an appointment with your dentist.

To find out more, contact a company like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock today.