The OPTISMILE Podcast 17 – The Power of a Professional Dental Cleaning

INTRODUCTION (0:09 – 0:54) Host: Eon Engelbrecht

Guest: Dr Clifford Yudelman, OptiSmile

Eon Engelbrecht welcomes listeners to the “Save Your Money, Save Your Teeth” podcast, where dental health meets financial savvy. Eon and Dr Clifford Yudelman explore practical dental advice and insights each week. This episode focuses on the transformative benefits of professional dental cleanings.

WHY PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANINGS ARE CRUCIAL (1:12 – 1:45) Dr Yudelman explains the importance of professional cleanings in removing plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing miss. These cleanings prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues, supporting overall health by reducing the risk of oral infections.

COMPLEMENTING AT-HOME ORAL HYGIENE (1:46 – 2:52) Professional cleanings provide a deeper clean and reach difficult areas, enhancing your at-home oral hygiene routine. At OptiSmile, a special dye highlights plaque and tartar, educating patients on effective daily oral care. Discover more about our Dental Cleaning Services in Cape Town.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A CLEANING (2:53 – 5:04) A typical professional cleaning at OptiSmile includes scaling to remove plaque and tartar, polishing with advanced tools, and a thorough examination. We use Piezo ultrasonic scalers for a gentle yet effective clean, ensuring a comprehensive and comfortable experience. Learn more about our Comprehensive Dental Care and solutions in Cape Town..

FREQUENCY OF PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS (5:05 – 7:42) The frequency of professional cleanings varies based on individual oral health. While some may need cleanings every six months, others might require them more or less frequently. Personalised cleaning schedules are essential for optimal oral health. Find out about our Tailored Dental Plans and dental checkups in Cape Town.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL AND AT-HOME CARE (7:43 – 8:33) Professional tools are more effective at removing tartar, especially under the gums, preventing bleeding and ensuring a cleaner mouth than at-home care can achieve.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS (8:34 – 10:06) Many believe cleanings should be painful or unnecessary with regular brushing, but modern techniques make them comfortable and essential for comprehensive care. Properly trained professionals ensure cleanings are safe and beneficial.

EARLY DETECTION OF DENTAL ISSUES (10:07 – 11:16) Cleanings allow for a thorough examination, helping to spot early signs of gum disease, cavities, and other potential issues. This proactive approach ensures timely treatment and better overall oral health.

MAINTAINING BENEFITS BETWEEN VISITS (11:17 – 12:07) Consistent daily oral hygiene practices, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, are crucial. At OptiSmile, we also recommend antimicrobial mouthwash and maintaining a healthy diet to support your oral health.

ENSURING A COMFORTABLE EXPERIENCE (12:08 – 13:41) OptiSmile provides a comfortable and effective cleaning experience with amenities like blankets and headphones. We use the latest technology and techniques, offer sedation options if necessary, and focus on patient education to ensure a positive experience.

CLOSING REMARKS (13:42 – 14:37) Eon wraps up the episode, encouraging listeners to consult their dental professionals and teasing next week’s discussion on another essential dental topic. Subscribe for more enlightening discussions and visit OptiSmile for expert advice and to book appointments. Keep smiling, and take great care of your teeth.

DISCOVER MORE (14:49 – 15:33) Explore the world of dental excellence with OptiSmile. Join our weekly podcast for unique insights and expert dental advice. Visit OptiSmile for informative articles and unparalleled dental care in Cape Town. Book your appointment today at OptiSmile.



Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (0:09 – 0:54)

Welcome to “Save Your Money, Save Your Teeth” here on eRadio, the go-to podcast where curiosity meets dentistry. It’s straight from the experts. I’m Eon, and every week, I chat with Dr Clifford Yudelman from OptiSmile as we take a nice deep dive into the world of dental care from a consumer’s perspective. Whether you’re looking just to brighten that smile or protect your wallet, we’ve got you covered with practical advice and also the latest insights. So, stick around as we uncover the secrets to maintaining both your dental health and also your finances. Today, discussing the power of professional cleanings.

A big welcome to you once again Dr Yudelman.

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (0:55 – 1:11)

Hi Eon, thanks for having me back. It’s great to chat with you, and today, I’m looking forward to talking about dental cleanings after last week’s episode about check-ups. I think the two go together very nicely, so fire away.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (1:12 – 1:18)

Doctor, why are professional dental cleanings so crucial for maintaining optimal oral health?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (1:19 – 1:45)

So, the, professional cleanings actually remove plaque that your regular brushing and flossing can’t get to. It helps to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and other oral health issues, and regular cleaning supports overall health by reducing the risk of oral infections, which, as we’ve spoken about before, can affect other parts of your body.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (1:45 – 1:51)

Okay, and how do professional cleanings complement at-home oral hygiene routines?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (1:52 – 2:52)

So, to go further on that, professional cleanings provide a deeper clean than your at-home care, and they reach areas that are difficult to access. It offers us an opportunity or the hygienist an opportunity if you’re seeing a hygienist. In some practices, the dentist does the cleaning; in other practices, there’s an oral hygienist whose job it is to do the cleanings as well as to educate you on oral hygiene, but it offers the dentist or the hygienist an opportunity to educate the patients on proper brushing and flossing techniques.

At OptiSmile, we often will put a purple dye or a blue dye on the patient’s tongue, and they swish it around, and they spit out, and we can show them where all the plaque is and or tartar and then we use that to know where to clean and also to reinforce the benefits of the daily oral hygiene practices, and this ensures comprehensive care.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (2:53 – 2:59)

So, doc, what can patients expect during a professional dental cleaning at OptiSmile?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (3:00 – 5:04)

So usually, there’s scaling done to remove the plaque and tartar. This is after we’ve dyed the plaque and tartar with the little pill that we mentioned and then also polishing your teeth with either a polishing brush or rubber cup. We have an air polisher that basically shoots out powder. It’s like a little mini-sandblaster and that gets between the teeth.

If it’s been a year, you’ll have a thorough exam done not only by the hygienist but also by the dentist. The dentist or the hygienist at OptiSmile uses what’s called Piezo ultrasonic scalers. That’s a little high-pitched machine that’s very gentle.

It runs along the gum line. There are different types of these scalers. If it’s not being used properly, it can be very, very sensitive.

Some people hate those things. Other people love them, and it’s the same with hand instruments. You know, the hygienist or dentist will put a metal pick between your teeth and scrape like crazy. Some people absolutely love that, and other people hate that.

Having a few different tools at one’s disposal is great, but very often, if you get a cleaning with an ultrasonic scaler, you should finish up with hand instruments and then polishing. We always floss the patient’s teeth and let them watch in the mirror so they can get a better idea of how we do it. In some cases, the patients will get fluoride treatment and special advice on what types of brushes to use.

If they have bad breath, we may dispense or recommend a tongue scraper. We’ve got special mouthwashes that have chlorhexidine and other types of different toothpaste. There are lots of different professional toothpaste.

In fact, we’re going to do a complete podcast on all the different types of toothpaste, mouthwash, and oral hygiene products in the near future. So that’s what happens when you get a professional dental cleaning at OptiSmile.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (5:04 – 5:11)

How often should someone get a professional dental cleaning, and does the frequency vary?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (5:12 – 7:42)

That’s a great question because we get patients that maybe haven’t been in for 18 months, and they’ll come and see me for an exam or maybe something feels a bit rough, or they feel like they’ve chipped something, which brings them in and they haven’t had a cleaning in 18 months, and they’ve barely had any fillings or problems before, and they’re brushing, and they’re flossing, and they’re not a smoker, and they don’t drink huge amounts of tea, and we have a look, we do a check-up, and we might say, you’re fine, you don’t need a cleaning. The cleaning is for a specific purpose. The cleaning is to actually clean stuff that’s on your teeth.

It’s not just because the insurance or medical aid pays for it. So that’s on the one end of the spectrum. On the other end of the spectrum, like yesterday, I saw a patient who had been for a full initial examination and x-rays at another dentist, and he got a cleaning with the hygienist at the other practice, literally maybe about a month ago.

It’s a very good practice. I believe they must have done a good cleaning for him. I didn’t know that he had had a cleaning there because, to be honest, there was a lot of tartar behind his lower front teeth, which must have built up very, very quickly in the last month or six weeks.

So, if we see that patient in another six or eight weeks, he looks like he needs a cleaning every three months. Whereas most people, it’s recommended every six months, but I think if you go in today and you get a clean and you go back in six months and the dentist scrapes a little bit behind your front teeth and gives you a quick polish and charges your medical aid 900 rand or 1500 rand, whatever it is, and you feel like you’re only there for 10 minutes, you might want to ask them, do I really need this every six months?

Maybe I only need this every year. And more importantly, especially if you’re paying out of pocket. But I think whether medical aid pays, or you pay, it’s still, one shouldn’t do things that are not necessary.

On the other end of the spectrum, if your medical aid only pays for a cleaning every six months or if that’s what you feel you can afford. Then, if the dentist can see that it’s not enough for you, and they recommend that you come every three months, then follow that advice.

I think it should be personalised based on your own oral health status.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (7:43 – 7:50)

Doctor, what are the main differences between professional cleanings and at-home brushing and flossing?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (7:50 – 8:33)

Yeah, so these machines and polishing cups and polishing brushes, they’re just a lot more, I think for want of a better word, they’re more effective at getting under the gums. They’re more aggressive. They’re things that you can’t really do yourself at home.

When the tartar starts building up under the gum, that’s when you start getting bleeding gums. And just all around, after a dental oral hygienist visit or cleaning with a dentist, your mouth is going to be much cleaner than before you came in. And then you just got to maintain that at home for the next three, six to 12 months, whatever your specific situation is.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (8:34 – 8:41)

What are some common misconceptions about professional dental cleanings that you encounter?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (8:41 – 10:06)

So, some patients believe that cleanings are painful, should be painful, or always painful. But modern techniques and, in some cases, we can use anaesthetic. You shouldn’t have pain.

There may be discomfort, especially if you haven’t had a cleaning in a long time. Another misconception is that professional cleanings are not necessary if you brush and floss regularly, but they’re essential for comprehensive care. The other last misconception that I can think of is people think that cleanings can damage the teeth, but they’re actually designed to preserve and enhance your oral health.

And look, yes, if you’ve got an inexperienced dentist or a hygienist that puts an ultrasonic scale on full blast and hasn’t had proper training, and it’s painful, they can possibly chip or break a filling or damage your tooth, but that would be really the exception. It should feel more like you’re having a spa treatment. We get a lot of Google reviews from patients who’ve just only ever had a cleaning.

They’ve never had fillings or root canals or anything. They just love the experience. We get great feedback at OptiSmile.

People love coming in for cleanings.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (10:07 – 10:12)

And how do professional cleanings help in the early detection of potential dental issues?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (10:13 – 11:16)

Yeah, so along with the cleaning, once the teeth are clean, then it’s much easier to check them more thoroughly, looking for signs of gum disease, which we discussed before, bleeding gums, and cavities. If someone’s got a lot of plaque on their teeth after it’s been scraped off and polished, one can see if that plaque has actually caused the cavity, and we can have a general look around to look for any other oral cancer and sores or any ulcerations, things like that. Be more timely with our treatment recommendations during these cleaning appointments.

And if there’s a hygienist and a dentist, a lot of the time, the hygienist may see something and then ask the dentist to look at that on your behalf, which happens very often at our practice. That’s a sign of a great oral hygienist. They’re always having a good look when they’re cleaning.

They’re not just doing it brainlessly.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (11:17 – 11:24)

Doctor, what advice do you give your patients to maintain the benefits of a professional cleaning between visits?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (11:25 – 12:07)

Well, we not only encourage consistent daily oral hygiene practices, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, but we also ensure that the patient knows how to do it and demonstrate it to them. Although there is a code, and you could charge a fee for doing this, we don’t charge you. We think it’s part of the visit.

In some cases, we’ll recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash for certain patients who are struggling to control their plaque and who have gum problems or bad breath. We can advise you on maintaining a healthy diet limiting sugary and acidic foods, and other things that can harm your teeth.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (12:08 – 12:16)

Our final question for today is, how does OptiSmile ensure a comfortable and effective cleaning experience for patients?

Dr Clifford Yudelman OptiSmile (12:17 – 13:41)

So, we offer patients a blanket. We’ve got headphones if somebody doesn’t like the noise.

We use the very latest technology and techniques to ensure a gentle yet thorough cleaning. We have a lovely ocean view. Although sedation is an option, it’s very rare.

Some patients need to take a sedative just for a dental cleaning, but if that’s what somebody wants and they’re very deathly afraid of getting any instruments in their mouth, then we can help them with that. In some cases, we’ll put some anaesthetic gels or even numb a patient if there’s a particular area that needs a deep cleaning. And we focus on patient education.

We explain every step of the process to alleviate any anxiety and ensure a positive experience at OptiSmile. And I’m sure many other dentists around the country do the same. If you’re not in Cape Town and there’s a dentist near to you, I think most people can expect very similar.

All the things that I say in my podcasts are that you don’t have to come to OptiSmile to experience modern dentistry and not only save your money but also save your teeth. So, it’s about both.

Eon Engelbrecht E-Radio (13:42 – 14:37)

And going to the dentist with an ocean view, I mean, what more can you ask for? I wouldn’t even need sedation. That’s more than enough.

That’s great. And that wraps up another episode of “Save Your Money, Save Your Teeth.” Dr Yudelman, thank you so much once again. Thank you. Thanks for having me on, and I look forward to speaking to you again next week. Next week, same time, same place.

Also, remember, while we strive to provide valuable insights, always consult with your own dental professional for advice tailored to your personal health. Don’t forget to subscribe for more enlightening discussions and join us again next week as we continue to explore the fascinating intersection of dental health and financial savvy. Until then, keep smiling and taking great care of your teeth.

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Disclaimer: The content provided in this podcast, “Save Your Money Save Your Teeth” on Medical Mondays, is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as dental or medical advice. The insights and opinions expressed by Dr. Clifford Yudelman and any guests are designed to foster a better understanding of dental health, preventive measures, and general well-being, but should not be interpreted as professional dental or medical recommendations. Dr. Clifford Yudelman does not diagnose, treat, or offer prevention strategies for any health conditions directly through this podcast. This platform is not a substitute for the personalized care and advice provided by a licensed dental or healthcare professional. We strongly encourage our listeners to consult with their own dental care providers to address individual dental health needs and concerns. The information shared here aims to empower listeners with knowledge about dental health but must not be used as a basis for making health-related decisions without professional guidance. Your dental care provider is the best source of advice about your dental and overall health. Please always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified health professionals regarding any questions or concerns about your dental health.

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