Your Guide to Routine Dental Cleanings for Healthy Teeth
Routine dental cleanings are a necessary part of oral care. They help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Dental appointments should not just be made when you have an appointment. Rather, visiting the dentist should be part of your ongoing oral care.
So, what is a routine dental cleaning and why is it important? Keep reading to understand more about the types of dental cleanings and why they are necessary.
What is a routine dental cleaning?
A routine or regular dental cleaning is performed every six months, unless otherwise requested by your dentist. Patients with gum disease or certain conditions may have routine appointments more frequently.
Regular vs deep cleaning
You may not realize that there are different types of cleanings. Routine dental cleanings are performed at your general examinations. Your hygienist focuses on removing plaque and tartar buildup on the enamel of your teeth.
A deeper, more advanced cleaning is performed less frequently and is reserved for patients who may have gum disease. This cleaning may involve scaling and root planing. Using special tools, the hygienist cleans the teeth and removes bacteria above and below the gum line. The mechanical vibrations of the ultrasonic cleaner effectively blast and remove the dental calculus.
With regular and deep cleanings, the primary goal remains the same – to rid the mouth of plaque and tartar.
What to expect
For adults and children, the basics of a dental cleaning include the following:
- Plaque and tartar are scraped off using special instruments.
- The hygienist cleans and polishes the teeth with a gritty toothpaste before flossing the teeth.
- The dentist physically examines the teeth and checks the bite and jaw for signs of trouble.
- X-rays are taken once per year.
- For children, a fluoride treatment may be done to protect the teeth against cavities
Timeline for appointments
Visiting the dentist is a crucial piece in protecting and maintaining your oral health. However, how often you have dental appointments depends upon your needs.
For some patients, once or twice per year is sufficient. These patients do not have underlying oral health conditions and are not prone to decay or gum disease. Appointments scheduled every six months are enough to prevent tartar buildup from taking over. This time frame also allows the dentist to detect and treat potential issues before they develop into larger problems.
Other patients may need to be seen more regularly. Patients who have periodontal disease or who are more susceptible to dental problems should visit the dentist every three months. Bacterial growth can build up in as little as a few months, but more frequent appointments help keep bacteria in check.
Importance of dental cleanings
Dental care requires a partnership between patients and their dental team. The patient’s responsibilities include continuing to follow good oral health habits such as brushing and flossing. The patient must also attend routine dental examinations as recommended by the dental team. The exams and cleanings are part of preventive care for your oral and overall health.
Your oral and overall health are connected. Problems with your teeth and gums can make you more susceptible to health conditions including heart disease. Taking the steps to protect your oral health, and thus your overall health, through routine cleanings is important.
Are routine dental cleanings necessary?
In a word, yes, dental cleanings are necessary. They are part of the preventive maintenance to keep your mouth healthy. The examinations and cleanings help ward off potential problems. Aside from cleaning and polishing the teeth, your dental professional checks for underlying issues or areas of concern.
Additionally, a cleaning appointment is also the time for a dental exam. Your team checks your mouth for signs of oral cancer, decay, and gum disease. Since your dental care is tailored to your needs, you can use the time to discuss your concerns or ask about ways to improve your smile.
What happens without regular dental cleanings?
A missed cleaning may not seem like the end of the world. Perhaps you think that with regular brushing you can keep your teeth cleaned properly and avoid problems. However, a professional cleaning uses specialized tools to scrape off tartar and to remove plaque in hard-to-reach areas. Simply put, your hygienist can clean your teeth better than you can.
Without the professional cleaning, bacteria may continue to build and spread throughout your mouth. While your smile may appear unchanged at first, problems could be lurking. Your dentist can detect these signs; whereas you may remain unaware of a problem until a toothache arises. At that point, the damage has spread and more serious treatment is necessary.
Regular dental care during Covid-19
During the initial COVID-19 outbreak, dental appointments were stopped. Patients were told to only seek treatment for dental emergencies. Since then, the restrictions have been lifted.
Dentists are encouraging patients to resume their normal preventive treatments. Routine care helps protect oral health and prevent serious issues. There may be new cleaning, social distancing, or mask-wearing measures in effect at your dentist’s office. However, the goal to keep your teeth and gums healthy remains the same.
Get a routine dental cleaning in Uptown Charlotte
Keep your teeth healthy and your smile beautiful with a routine cleaning.
Remember, prevention is better than needing a treatment or cure. At Genesis Family Dentistry, our dental team provides routine dental cleanings in Uptown Charlotte near Plaza Midwood. Book an appointment today for preventive care.