Having your teeth cleaned regularly is a necessary part of good dental health. Many people think that if they brush their teeth twice daily and floss, that is enough to have healthy teeth. This is not entirely true! Scheduled cleanings are still necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy.
The body produces calcium which is sent via the salivary glands to the saliva. If not removed, it attaches to the teeth, often times under the gum line. When left for periods of time, this can cause soft tissue inflammation and infection. If still not treated, it can escalate to periodontal disease where the bone can become infected, teeth become looser and can be lost, as well.
Our hygienist will likely take x-rays and examine your mouth during scheduled cleanings. During this dentistry exam, she screens for problems such as decay, broken teeth, missing teeth or periodontal disease. She confers with our dentist who then performs an examination and determines the scope of any potential problems. In this way, early detection of problems that might need treatment can take place.
During a typical cleaning, the hygienist does the following:
- removes calcified deposits from your teeth
- examines your mouth for periodontal disease
- polishes your teeth with a dental polishing paste
- flosses your teeth
- provides oral hygiene instructions, as needed
For You To Know Before You Have Your Teeth Cleaned
- Even if you have your teeth cleaned on a regular basis, you must still commit to good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily.
- Anesthesia is available, as needed.
Periodontal Treatment: Root Planing
Generally, most people up to approximately age 30, can have their teeth cleaned (called a “routine prophylaxis”) two times a year and maintain healthy gums. However, at some point, our bodies change and we may begin to produce tartar (calculus) more quickly. The calculus may change the health of the gums, as well. A patient may not be aware that this is happening and may skip a cleaning or two. When this occurs, it may not be possible to do a routine prophylaxis and your dentist and/or hygienist might recommend a full mouth scaling and Root Planing. This is a deep cleaning that may require more than one appointment to be completed.
Fluoride is a pleasant tasting gel that is placed on each tooth during treatment. Placement of fluoride gel on the teeth of children (up to the age of 13) usually helps make the outer layer of the teeth more resistant to decay. If this treatment is done 1-2 times/year after cleanings and in combination with good eating habits, regular brushing and regular check-ups, it can help prevent tooth decay.
For You To Know Before You Have Fluoride Treatment
- You should not eat, drink or rinse your mouth for 30 minutes after a fluoride treatment.
Sealants are a thin layer of dental material that fill the fine grooves on the biting surface of the back teeth. Sealants are especially helpful for children (under age 10) to prevent cavities from forming on their six-year molars. Sealants do not replace the need for regular dental care, good brushing habits and a healthy diet.
For You To Know Before You Have Sealants
- Sealants are a painless procedure which can be very beneficial to preventing cavities.
- Sealants occasionally come off and need to be replaced.
- Care is needed when eating sticky foods.