It’s time for your twice-annual dental cleaning. Do you need to keep your appointment? You brush your teeth, and nothing seems to be hurting. So why do you need to go to the dentist for a dental cleaning?
The benefits of dental cleanings are more than you think. Dental professionals look deeply into your oral hygiene and identify problems before they become more extensive. Also, when a dental hygienist cleans your teeth and removes plaque, you are back at a fresh start for cleaning your teeth and preventing decay.
Other benefits of dental cleanings include the following:
- Dental exam to identify problems and give advice on treatment at home
- Treating and removing discolorations or other tooth stains
- Fluoride treatment
- Early detection of cancer or gum disease
So keep that dental cleaning appointment and set yourself up for success by taking care of your teeth, including routine maintenance check-ups. Most insurance companies cover dental check-ups, so you can focus on your dental hygiene and prevent further costs.
Four Types of Dental Cleanings
When you go in for a dental cleaning, you must know that four different kinds of cleanings are available to meet your needs. Your dentist will identify what type of cleaning you need. Be aware of what options are available to you:
Prophylaxis means disease prevention. This is the regular dental check-up you’ve likely received your entire life.
The goal of the cleaning is to prevent disease and provide maintenance to your teeth. A general tooth cleaning can include:
- Polishing and flossing of the teeth
- Plaque removal on all sides of teeth, including hard-to-reach places
- Dental sealants and fluoride treatment
- Dental examination
Most people receive a prophylaxis cleaning, and that’s all they need. With regular teeth brushing and flossing, a preventative cleaning appointment is often sufficient. The other forms of dental cleanings are specialized for additional dental issues.
Periodontal disease can affect your overall health. For example, gum disease breaks down your bones. When you have gum disease, are recovering from, or show early signs of gum disease, you will require special maintenance at your dental cleaning appointment.
The dentist may even call you in for a cleaning every three months to stop the spread of periodontal disease. The dentist will also offer tips for maintaining your gum health at home. A periodontal maintenance cleaning is essential for those looking to maintain good gum health.
Full Mouth Debridement
If you last visited the dentist many years ago, a full mouth debridement, also called a gross debridement, is required. The dental cleaning is more thorough, removing years’ worth of plaque buildup.
The dentist may use local anesthesia to numb the area as they remove layers of plaque buildup. Then, your dentist will use ultrasonic tools to break up the hardened tartar and remove it from the outside, inside, and in-between surfaces of the teeth. A full mouth debridement is unnecessary if you visit the dentist regularly and brush and floss your teeth daily.
Scaling and Root Planing
When it is evident that you have extensive plaque buildup and infection has been identified in your gums, this calls for scaling and root planing. In addition to the deep cleaning tasks performed in a full mouth debridement, the scaling and root planing aim to eliminate infection and disease.
When you have gingivitis, deep pockets appear in the gums that trap bacteria and become infections. Scaling removes plaque from the tooth’s surface and the deep gum pockets caused by the disease. In addition, the cleaning reduces gum inflammation.
Root planing smooths the roots back down after cleaning so the gums can reattach to the teeth and the gum pockets can close. This extensive cleaning is specific to those suffering from gum disease and infections. Sometimes scaling and root planing must be performed before surgical procedures take place to treat gum disease.
Now that you know about all the dental cleanings available, you can find solace in knowing that your dentist has the expertise and tools they need to treat your oral health condition. You can always find answers to your tooth troubles by visiting a dentist and discussing the next steps.
Contact a Trusted Dental Provider
Get the answers you need by contacting a dentist you can trust. Your teeth are never unsalvageable or too far gone. Find comfort and satisfaction with your smile by talking to your dentist today about your oral health needs.