Can Dental Cleanings Remove Tooth Stains?

By: Dr. Joanna Claustro


A semi-annual professional teeth cleaning is an essential part of oral health care. Dentists typically recommend getting a dental cleaning twice a year and a dental exam annually.

At Joanna Claustro DMD & Associates in Ashburn, VA, Dr. Joanna Claustro uses state-of-the-art equipment to remove tooth stains and provide patients with brighter, whiter, healthier smiles.

Keep reading to find out what kinds of stains a professional dental cleaning can remove.


What are professional dental cleanings?

Some people mix up dental cleanings and teeth whitening. While both procedures may remove stains and dentists may offer both services, an annual dental cleaning can only be performed in a dentist’s office by a qualified dental hygienist.

Usually, patients go to the dentist twice a year if their teeth are healthy. Both appointments involve teeth cleaning, and one of those appointments will involve a dental exam by a licensed dentist.

A dental cleaning is designed to remove the plaque and tartar that builds up on teeth, which may cause tooth decay. Even brushing twice a day and flossing daily cannot remove every bit of buildup on the teeth, so semi-annual professional teeth cleanings are necessary for everyone.

What's involved in professional teeth cleaning?

During a dental cleaning, a dental hygienist will use special tools to scrape the plaque and tartar from your teeth, giving special attention to the areas between your teeth where brushing cannot reach. They will also brush and polish your teeth to give you a brighter, whiter smile and identify any areas of concern for your dentist or help you brush more effectively at home.

At Joanna Claustro DMD & Associates, we use an ultrasonic device to start your dental cleaning in order to loosen pieces of plaque and tartar without scraping, which can be easier on sensitive teeth. That way, when we scrape any remaining buildup, it's a shorter process.

If appropriate, your hygienist will also provide a fluoride treatment to help fight any remaining bacteria in your mouth.

While you will leave the office with a whiter smile, a typical teeth cleaning will not involve bleaching or dedicated whitening agents. Teeth whitening is a separate cosmetic procedure.

Can a professional dental cleaning remove tooth stains?

Tooth stains can have different causes. Some (extrinsic) stains are only on the outermost part of the tooth enamel. Intrinsic stains, however, discolor your teeth at a deeper level and can make it easier for food and drinks to cause discoloration. Tooth stains can also be age-related as the tooth enamel wears down over time.

A dental cleaning can address some extrinsic stains by removing plaque and helping to strengthen enamel so that it can repel stains from food and drink such as coffee, wine, and sweets.

Intrinsic and age-related stains may require different cosmetic whitening treatments. In severe cases, deep stains may not be treatable but can be covered by veneers. If you're interested in addressing these kinds of stains, you may need to address dental health issues first, especially if the strength of the tooth or root is compromised.

Get a dental cleaning in Ashburn, VA

You will leave a professional dental cleaning with a brighter, healthier smile. If you have been keeping up with your dental hygiene, you will likely notice whiter teeth after your cleaning. However, deeper stains may require more specific interventions.

If you're interested in scheduling a professional dental cleaning in Ashburn, VA or talking to Dr. Joanna Claustro about teeth whitening or other stain removal options, schedule a consultation at Joanna Claustro DMD & Associates.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.