Why are frequent teeth cleanings important?
Regular Cleanings Help Remove Plaque and Tartar.
One important part of a dental cleaning is the plaque removal process. Plaque is a film that is always growing on your teeth. It’s colorless, but it’s sticky. It can accumulate on any tooth surface but is particularly prevalent around the gum line.
Plaque is colorless, and you probably won’t notice that it’s there. It contains bacteria that can lead to cavities, gingivitis and other dental conditions. You might notice the symptoms of tooth problems without realizing that you have plaque. During your cleaning the hygienist uses a scaler to remove the plaque from your teeth. Even if you are great at flossing, you might have trouble accessing hard-to-reach areas. The hygienist can get into tight spots and remove plaque that you might have missed.
Plaque isn’t the only buildup that can develop on your teeth. Tartar develops when plaque is not completely removed. When plaque remains on the teeth, it combines with your saliva to harden into tartar, or calculus. Tartar is much harder than plaque. It’s also yellow or brownish. Tartar can make you lose your teeth or develop a receding gum line. It also contributes to decay and gum disease.
You can’t remove tartar at home. A professional cleaning is the only way to get rid of the unsightly tartar that can weaken your oral health.
After using the scaler, the hygienist or dentist will clean your teeth. This is usually done with a gritty toothpaste and a rotating polishing tool. The toothpaste is mildly abrasive and removes any plaque and tartar that the scaler may have left behind.
Although it’s safe to use a grainy product like this twice a year, you shouldn’t be this rough on your teeth at home. The dental team has experience with using products such as these and understands how to use them properly.
What Else Happens During a Cleaning?
When you go to your cleaning, you may be offered X-rays or fluoride treatments.
Topical fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. People with frequent cavities, gum disease, dry mouth, crowns or bridges may benefit from fluoride treatments. Dentists don’t always recommend fluoride treatments for adults, but they may if you are prone to cavities or have other issues.
Depending on your dental history, we may recommend X-rays every six months, or less frequently if you are not prone to cavities.
A cleaning is also a great time to ask your dentist questions. If cavities crop up every time you visit the dentist, you may want to find out why you’re prone to them.
You can ask your dentist to show you how to brush your teeth properly so that you don’t miss any important areas. You might also ask for a flossing tutorial to make sure that you’re doing it correctly. Even though most adults think that they know how to brush their teeth, you could be missing spots without knowing it.
Some of the best questions to ask your dentist at a cleaning include:
• How can I brighten my teeth?
• Do I have gum disease?
• Is my oral health routine at home effective?
• Would I benefit from using mouthwash?
• Does it look like I am grinding my teeth?
You might also want to point out any sensitive spots on your teeth or in your mouth.
We recommend visiting with us every six months. It is an essential part of your health care routine.