Regular dental cleanings are an important aspect of preventive dentistry, and your family dentist recommends all patients undergo a cleaning at least twice a year. Without these routine visits, plaque and tartar build up over time -- and tooth decay and gum disease aren’t far behind. What happens during your dental cleaning? More information on this important aspect of preventive dental care is below.
Prevention Focuses on Keeping Teeth Clean
To keep cavities and gum disease at bay, we must prevent plaque and tartar from building up on the teeth and around your gums. Plaque is the sticky, clear substance that forms on your teeth throughout the day. When it is not removed with thorough brushing and flossing, plaque turns into tartar. It’s a process that happens in as little as 24 hours. Tartar is the hard, yellow stuff that you can see. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed with special tools at the dentist’s office. Both plaque and tartar cause serious oral health issues. Their regular removal and prevention is key to enjoying healthy teeth and gums.
What Happens During a Routine Cleaning?
The cleaning portion of your appointment takes about half an hour. This is your time to ask any questions you may have regarding your oral hygiene and health. Your hygienist uses a combination of hand tools, power tools, and various polishes and pastes to get your teeth far cleaner than is possible at home. While your hygienist is cleaning your teeth, he or she will be on the lookout for evidence of issues that may require further attention -- like decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer.
The final step of a dental cleaning is usually x-rays. These in-depth images help your dentist catch problems that could be lurking beneath the surface. Usually, a full set of x-rays is recommended once per year. After the cleaning is complete, your teeth feel smooth and it’s time for the dentist’s exam.
Your At-Home Care Is Just As Important
Regular preventive care should be combined with an excellent dental hygiene routine at home. Your dental hygienist will provide advice for keeping your teeth and gums healthy in between appointments. What do these tips include? You already know the basics of good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth for two minutes, after each meal or at least twice a day, and floss daily. For effective cleaning, make sure you are…
- Brushing each quadrant of your teeth for 30 seconds
- Using a non-abrasive toothpaste
- Brushing and flossing gently
- Using a fluoridated toothpaste
Patients should also be aware of the negative effect smoking has on oral health. Tobacco use of any kind is one of the leading causes of gum disease in adults over the age of 35. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, kick the tobacco habit and maintain a balanced, nutritious diet for healthy teeth and gums.
Schedule a Dental Cleaning
Maxwell Creek Family Dentistry recommends patients of all ages have a dental cleaning at least twice a year. When was your last preventive appointment? Don’t skip out on this important aspect of dental care. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!