If you’ve never had a professional dental cleaning at a dental office, you may be wondering why dentists strongly recommend them as a necessary part of your oral care practices. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert Arizona, we strongly advise two cleanings each year. And if you’re a senior, it’s possible that we would recommend three or more cleanings each year. So why are they so important?
A Dental Cleaning Includes a Dental Checkup
First, when you come to have your teeth cleaned, our dentist will do a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. Using a small mirror and dental tools, he’ll check around each tooth for signs of dental caries (cavities). He’ll also take a look at your gums for any possible gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). The benefit of having two annual checkups is that when issues with the teeth and gums are caught in the early stages, the probability is higher that they will be much more easily resolved. For example, gingivitis is easily cured. But if it’s not treated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, or gum disease. At that stage it can still be treated, but a permanent cure may be harder to accomplish.
A Dental Cleaning Removes Tartar
You probably know about bad bacteria growing in the mouth as a result of what you ingest. You may even understand that it turns to plaque if it’s not cleaned away by daily at-home care. But did you know that if plaque remains, it can harden into a substance called tartar? In as little as 48 hours, plaque can become tartar. Once tartar has formed on your teeth it cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. The only way to remove tartar? By receiving a professional dental cleaning at the dentist.
What Else Happens at a Professional Dental Cleaning?
These days, receiving a professional dental cleaning from a dental hygienist is basically a pain-free experience. If you’ve kept your daily brushing and flossing routine up at home, and you’ve limited your sugary and acidic food intakes, there’s a good chance the hygenist won’t need to do as much work on your teeth. Generally, here are the steps taken during a professional dental cleaning:
- —Your dentist will check your teeth and gums. This might involve X-rays, if it’s been awhile since your last checkup, or if the dentist needs to look for possible infection or decay that could be below the surface of your gums or between your teeth.
- —Removing plaque and tartar. Your hygienist will use a small mirror and a scaling tool to literally scrape off the tartar that has formed on your teeth. It’s not painful, but it is vital for the health of your teeth, and it just might prevent the formation of a cavity.
- —Cleaning of your teeth. After scraping away the tartar, the hygienist will use a high-powered toothbrush and some gritty toothpaste to polish away any remaining plaque and tartar. Bonus: you get to choose from an array of interesting flavors!
- —Flossing. After a thorough cleaning comes flossing that removes any debris. And then, after a good rinse, your teeth will be sparkling clean!
- —Fluoride Treatment. An additional step that could be taken during your professional dental cleaning is the application of a fluoride treatment to strengthen and protect your teeth.
At Lifetime Family Dental we’re passionate about seeing your teeth stay strong and your gums healthy. If you do your part at home by brushing twice and flossing once daily, we’ll do our part by giving your teeth the biannual checkup they need and a professional dental cleaning that can help you avoid the need for dental restorations. Have questions? Need to schedule a professional dental cleaning? Give us a call, or contact us on our website for more information!