Teeth Cleaning vs. Teeth Whitening: Know the Difference

Teeth Cleaning vs. Teeth Whitening: Know the Difference

Although they might seem similar, the goals and procedures of teeth cleaning and whitening are quite different. It’s easy to get confused between the two, but the differences are fairly simple.

While teeth cleaning is done to maintain healthy gums and teeth, teeth whitening is purely for cosmetic purposes.

Teeth Cleaning

The main purpose of teeth cleaning is to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth’s surface to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Getting your teeth cleaned every 6 months is recommended by dentists to promote oral health.


Prophylaxis is another name for the routine dental cleaning procedure. A standard prophylaxis procedure involves a dental hygienist removing plaque and tartar accumulated on the surface of your teeth and gums. The procedure is painless and does not require anesthesia. It takes about 30–60 minutes, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar accumulated on your teeth.

Root Scaling

This procedure is also known as advanced cleaning or deep cleaning. Root scaling is required when you start showing signs of gum disease. This includes gum swelling, bleeding and soreness.

Root scaling requires local anesthesia to be used in the area that is being cleaned. The procedure also requires a number of scaling appointments depending on the condition of your gums.

Teeth Whitening

The main purpose of teeth whitening is to remove stains from your teeth, making them appear brighter. This procedure is done for cosmetic purposes and doesn’t have any specific health benefits.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Kits

These at-home whitening kits are easily available at local pharmacies. With a very low amount of hydrogen peroxide, these whitening kits only lighten your teeth by one to two shades, without removing any deep-set stains.

Dental Laser Bleaching

If you have heavily stained or extremely yellow teeth, then getting your teeth whitened by a dentist would be the most suitable treatment to make your smile bright again.

During a dental laser bleaching procedure, a thick bleaching agent is applied to your teeth. A laser is then used to activate the bleaching agent. With just one session, dramatic whitening results can be achieved.

Get your teeth whitened and cleaned by some of the best dentists in Bethesda. Visit Bethesda Dental Health today! Our advanced, cutting-edge dental equipment and expert dentists can help you achieve a bright and healthy smile. Call us at (301) 654-1887 to book your appointment.


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