Taking care of our oral health is vital for our overall well-being. One crucial aspect of oral hygiene is professional dental cleanings. Some people might be unaware of the importance of regular teeth cleanings, assuming that brushing and flossing alone are sufficient.
However, regular cleanings offer distinct benefits beyond daily oral care routines.
In this blog post, we will look closer into why are dental cleanings important, the process involved, and how often you should get your teeth cleaned.
What Is Involved in Professional Dental Cleanings?
Professional dental cleanings, also known as teeth cleanings, are comprehensive procedures performed by dental hygienists or dentists. These cleanings involve more than just removing surface stains.
Here’s what typically happens during a professional dental cleaning:
- Plaque and tartar removal. Dental professionals use special tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film forming on your teeth due to bacteria and food particles. If not removed, it can harden into tartar, which cannot be eliminated by brushing and flossing alone.
- Deep cleaning. Dental hygienists perform a deep cleaning, also called scaling, to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. This process reduces the risk of gum disease and helps maintain healthy gums.
- Polishing. After removing the plaque and tartar, your dental professional will polish your teeth using gritty toothpaste and a high-powered electric brush. This step removes surface stains and gives your teeth a smooth and polished appearance.
- Fluoride treatment. Sometimes, a fluoride treatment may be applied after the cleaning procedure. Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth and protect against cavities.
Important Benefits of Dental Cleanings
Preventive dental care, such as dental cleaning, offers numerous benefits for your oral health.
Here are some key dental cleaning importance:
Preventing Gum Disease and Other Oral Issues
Plaque buildup is the primary cause of gum disease, resulting in tooth loss if left untreated. During dental cleanings, dental professionals examine your mouth for signs of oral health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer.
Detecting these issues early can prevent them from worsening and allow for prompt treatment.
While oral hygiene routines like brushing and flossing are essential for cavity prevention, professional cleanings allow for more thorough removal of plaque and tartar, reducing the chances of developing cavities.
Dental cleanings eliminate bacteria and plaque contributing to bad breath, leaving you with fresher breath and improved confidence.
Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Evidence suggests gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The inflammation caused by gum disease may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and increase the likelihood of heart-related problems.
Better Diabetes Management
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) highlights the connection between diabetes and dry mouth. Diabetes can cause dry mouth, which leads to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Maintaining good oral hygiene, including professional routine cleanings, is particularly important for individuals with diabetes.
By removing surface stains, professional dental cleanings can help restore your teeth’s natural color, resulting in a brighter smile.
How Often Should You Get Tooth Cleanings?
The frequency of dental cleanings depends on various factors, including your oral health condition and individual needs. However, as a general guideline, it is recommended to have professional teeth cleanings every six months. Regular visits ensure that any plaque or tartar buildup is promptly removed, preventing further oral health complications.
Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings if you have specific conditions like gum disease or a history of oral health issues.
What Is the Process for Teeth Cleanings?
When you visit the dentist’s clinic for teeth cleaning, here’s what you can expect:
- Dental exam and assessment. Your dental hygienist or dentist will start by examining your teeth and gums. They may use a small mirror and dental probe to check for any signs of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, or other oral health concerns.
- X-rays (if necessary). In some cases, the dental professional may recommend taking X-rays of your teeth. X-rays help identify dental problems that may not be visible during the visual examination.
- Scaling. The next step involves removing plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. The dental professional will carefully scrape away the hardened deposits from above and below the gumline using specialized dental instruments. This process is known as scaling.
- Polishing. After scaling, the dental professional will use gritty toothpaste, a rotating brush, or a high-powered electric brush to polish your teeth. This helps remove surface stains and leaves your teeth feeling smooth and clean.
- Professional flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, professional dental flossing is more thorough. The dental professional will floss between each of your teeth to remove any remaining plaque or debris.
- Fluoride treatment (optional). You may be offered a fluoride treatment depending on the dental office’s practice. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel and protect your teeth against cavities.
- Oral health education. Your dentist or another dental professional will discuss cleaning and proper oral hygiene techniques, such as brushing and flossing. They may also talk about diet and lifestyle factors that can impact your oral health.
- Examination by the dentist. After the cleaning, your dentist will review your dental X-rays and perform a final examination of your teeth and gums. They will discuss any potential dental issues they find and recommend further treatment if necessary.
- Follow-up appointment. Before you leave the dental office, the receptionist will typically schedule your next regular check-up and cleaning appointment. Regular dental cleanings are typically recommended every six months, although your dentist may suggest a different interval based on your specific oral health needs.
The Importance of Professional Teeth Cleanings for Optimal Oral Health
Having your teeth professionally cleaned is a vital component of maintaining your optimal oral health. Remember that routine teeth cleanings help prevent gum disease, cavities, and other oral health issues. By visiting a reputable dentist near you for professional teeth cleanings every six months, you can enjoy a brighter smile, fresher breath, and early detection of potential problems.
Don’t overlook the importance of dental cleanings – make them a priority for a healthier mouth!