Professional teeth cleaning process


A so-called professional tooth cleaning (short: PZR) is one of the standard measures in the treatment process of various diseases of the tooth supporting apparatus. In addition, professional teeth cleaning can also be used as a preventive measure (prophylaxis) caused by inflammation of the gums or periodontal disease. Professional tooth cleaning is primarily used to remove soft (plaque) and hard (tartar) deposits on the tooth surface. Plaque is a biofilm that consists of both food residues and waste products from bacterial metabolism.

If these deposits remain on the tooth surface for a longer period of time without being thoroughly removed, they can expand into areas below the gum line. As a result, there are sometimes deep gum pockets, which are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and other pathogens that occur in the oral cavity.

The organism reacts to stimuli emanating from these pathogens by releasing various inflammatory mediators and increasing the blood flow to the tissue. It should also be noted that plaque hardens to solid tartar after a while. In most cases, the consequence of these processes is the development of inflammatory processes in the area of ​​the gums (Inflammation of the gums), which sooner or later can pass over to the jawbone and other structures of the tooth supporting apparatus if the appropriate treatment is neglected.

In the worst case, this results in a decline in bone substance and the loss of actually completely healthy teeth.
As a rule, the entire process of professional teeth cleaning is not covered by the statutory health insurance companies, so the patient must pay at least part of the costs independently. The costs for professional teeth cleaning amount to around 35 to 150 euros, depending on the design and effort.


Professional teeth cleaning can either be done by the dentist himself or by trained specialists (Prophylaxis assistant; Dental assistant; ZMF; Dental hygienist; DH) be performed. Before the actual teeth cleaning, the treatment process begins with the staining of the teeth. For this purpose, special solutions or tablets are used that reveal dental plaque that was not properly removed during brushing.

In addition, most dyes are able to switch between fresh (less than 48 hours) and older (older than 48 hours) To distinguish dental plaque. Most of the products used in dental practices have a bluish color to show older deposits and a red color to reveal new plaque. This measure makes sense, as the stained areas can be used to train a toothbrushing technique that is individually tailored to the respective patient.
In particular, patients who suffer from pronounced misaligned teeth or very narrow spaces between the teeth usually have areas that are difficult to access.

These places can hardly or not at all be reached by the bristles of a toothbrush. For this reason, dentists recommend using the interdental brush at least once a day (Interdental brush) or to floss. Following the learning of adequate oral hygiene, the second part of the treatment process of professional teeth cleaning follows.
The actual teeth cleaning begins in this step. The treating dentist or the responsible dental assistant cleans all tooth surfaces with the help of a flexible, rotating cleaning attachment.

Coarse deposits can be effectively removed from the tooth surface during this sub-unit. So-called scalers, sharpened, sterilizable hand instruments are then used. With the help of this scaler, food residues and plaque in the area between the teeth (Interdental spaces) or sitting near the gumline, be completely removed. In addition, hardened plaque, so-called tartar, can be removed relatively easily above the gum line with the scalers and below the gum line with the help of curettes.

During this step in the treatment process of professional tooth cleaning, various of these sterilizable hand instruments are used. The individual curettes and scalers differ in the individual cut of their ends, which makes it possible to optimally clean a specific tooth surface. Alternatively, professional teeth cleaning can also be carried out using an ultrasound or air scaler device.
In the next part of the professional tooth cleaning treatment process, discoloration is removed with the help of rotating equipment or a powder jet.

Read more on the topic: Scaler

Patients who are already suffering from a disease of the periodontal apparatus must have this treatment procedure repeated at regular intervals. Most dental practices integrate the affected patients into so-called recall systems, in which a professional tooth cleaning is carried out every 3 to 6 months. Depending on the jaw situation and the patient's own contribution to the thoroughness of daily oral hygiene, the intervals between the cleaning appointments are shorter or longer.

How long does a PZR last?

The duration of a professional tooth cleaning (PZR) depends on the number of teeth to be treated as well as the individual oral situation of the patient (type and amount of plaque, inflamed gum pockets, etc.). The selection of the required instruments is based on this. In adults, treatment usually takes between 45 and 70 minutes.

Is teeth cleaning painful?

With healthy teeth, professional teeth cleaning is not painful. Patients who suffer from exposed tooth necks or inflamed gum pockets often find the treatment uncomfortable. Thorough cleaning can also result in light to moderate bleeding. In order to make professional teeth cleaning more pleasant for the patient, the dentist has special gels available that numb the surface (e.g. Oraqix Paradontal Gel). These are applied to the affected areas before the start of the treatment and ensure painless cleaning of the teeth and gum pockets.

How often should a PZR be performed?

Usually one to two professional tooth cleanings per year are sufficient. The frequency depends primarily on the patient's risk of developing tooth decay and periodontitis (inflammation of the teeth). The use of medication, general illnesses such as Diabetes or stress can negatively affect oral health and thus increase the risk of tooth decay. Repeated treatment is necessary and useful in these patients. The dentist decides how often professional teeth cleaning should be carried out based on the patient's individual oral situation.