What is Involved in a Dental Cleaning?
A professional dental cleaning is when all the plaque, tartar, and staining is removed from tooth surfaces by a licenced dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or a dentist. Bacteria consistently build upon all tooth surfaces, above and below the gum line from saliva and the foods we eat and drink throughout the day. Certain foods promote heavier plaque accumulation, such as sugary and acidic foods. A toothbrush and dental floss's job is to help remove bacteria from the tooth and gum surfaces before it hardens and turns into tartar, which then can only be cleaned off at your routine dental cleanings with special tools. To help remove plaque and tartar, your dental hygienist will use small hooked instruments called scalers and sometimes a machine that sprays water. A polishing tool will be used to remove any external staining on the tooth surfaces. In addition to the cleaning, an oral assessment will be performed to check for any signs of infection, inflammation, cavities and lesions.
Importance of Routine Dental Cleanings
Plaque, tartar and staining are removed by your dental professional that you cannot access and remove at home using a toothbrush, dental floss or any other dental hygiene aids. Once plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth, bacteria continue to accumulate, which causes deposits to grow, causing damage to your gums and teeth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if left untreated. Your dental professional can also catch cavities in their early stages, preventing unnecessary pain and suffering. In addition, your dental professional can provide individualized tips and tricks for keeping your teeth and gums clean between appointments.
Recommended Frequency of Dental Cleanings
Each patient has his or her own unique and individual needs. Typically, it is not recommended to go longer than 6-9 months without a professional dental cleaning. This frequency would be recommended for patients with good oral hygiene habits that have healthy teeth and gums. More frequent dental cleanings are recommended for patients who show signs of gum disease or tooth decay and who may not have good at-home oral hygiene habits. Other conditions that require more frequent cleanings may include gum recession, high cavity risk, past gum disease, current braces and immune-compromised patients. It is important to discuss your recommended cleaning frequency with your dental professional.
If you believe you may be due for a cleaning or have any questions about professional dental cleanings, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.