National Dental Hygiene Month is here, and that means it’s time to brush up on teeth cleanings! Healthy teeth and gums are important for maintaining a healthy body. Yet, many people neglect their teeth because they do not understand the importance of dental cleanings. This blog post is designed to help educate you on what dental cleanings are, why they are important, and what happens during a dental cleaning.
What are teeth cleanings?
A teeth cleaning, also called a dental prophylaxis, is the removal of plaque and tartar from teeth through scaling – which involves scraping off any built-up material around teeth with hand instruments or ultrasonic tools. Regular teeth cleanings also help to prevent future build up of tartar on teeth and are the number one way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, two very common oral health issues which can cause teeth loss if not treated properly.
Why Teeth Cleanings are Important
- Regular teeth cleanings are the best way to prevent future dental issues. Tartar build up is often the cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath– three conditions which can be avoided with regular teeth cleanings.
- Teeth cleanings also provide an opportunity for your dentist or hygienist to check teeth for signs of oral cancer.
- Regular teeth cleanings minimize the need for costly and invasive restorative dental procedures.
- Prevents tooth loss
- Benefits your overall health. Gum disease has been associated with other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, preeclampsia, and stroke. Teeth cleanings help to prevent these things.
What happens during a teeth cleaning
Your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned by your dentist or hygienist, including all surfaces and between teeth. During teeth cleanings, dentists can also perform examinations to look at overall gum health as well as x-rays to check the condition of teeth.
There are multiple steps to a dental cleaning, including:
Step #1: Examination
The first step to a teeth cleaning is a quick examination of your teeth and gums. During this exam, a small mirror will be used to look around your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. In some cases, you may also need to have dental x-rays taken.
Step #2: Plaque and Tartar Removal
After your mouth has been examined, a dental hygienist will start the cleaning process by removing plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. This includes the fronts, backs, and sides of the teeth, as well as along the gum line. There are different dental tools that may be used such as a metal scaler or an ultrasonic water scaler. If a metal scaler is used, you may hear scraping sounds as the tartar is removed. It is important to note that tartar is simply hardened dental plaque that can be prevented by proper brushing and flossing.
Step #3: Gritty Toothpaste
Next, an electrical brush will be used in coordination with a gritty toothpaste to remove any remaining tartar accumulations. As the tartar is removed, you may hear a grinding noise. No need to worry though, this is perfectly safe when performed by a dental professional.
Step #4: Floss
The next step is to have your teeth professionally flossed. This helps to remove any leftover plaque and allows your hygienist to locate areas that you may be missing during your regular flossing routine.
Step #5: Rinse
As a final way to ensure that all the plaque, tartar, and toothpaste are removed, your mouth will be thoroughly rinsed with liquid fluoride.
Step #6: Fluoride
The final step of any teeth cleaning is to have a fluoride treatment. This can take the form of a foamy gel or sticky paste in trays. It is often flavored and is only left in place for a short amount of time. Afterwards, a fluoride varnish is painted onto your teeth. Fluoride is highly beneficial to tooth enamel because it makes the enamel stronger and makes it harder for plaque to accumulate.
..teeth cleanings are important because they can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, two very common oral health issues which can cause teeth loss if not treated properly. They also provide an opportunity for your dentist or hygienist to check teeth for signs of oral cancer during the process. Regular teeth cleanings may also help you avoid costly restorative dental procedures since it minimizes their need by removing tartar buildup that could lead to these problems in the future. In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, schedule your next dental cleaning today in order to maintain good oral hygiene!
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.