Your mouth is full of bacteria that lives off the food and sugars left behind after you eat. These bacteria can form sticky, gooey plaque.
Plaque releases acid that weakens your tooth enamel and irritates your gums. If you don’t brush, floss and get a dental cleaning every six months, the plaque can harden, and your gums will start telling you they’re in trouble.
Routine Dental Checkups
Routine dental checkups are vital to good oral hygiene and are the best way to detect problems at their earliest stages. Early detection and treatment saves unnecessary discomfort, time and money.
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends checkups twice a year. Oral hygiene needs change with age and the condition of your teeth and gums. Your dentist may recommend a checkup schedule that is more or less frequent than twice a year.
Your dental checkup includes:
- A visual exam of your mouth, face, jaw and neck
- Digital diagnostics, as determined by your dentist
- A gingival pocket exam
- Professional cleaning of your teeth
- Comprehensive data capture in an electronic dental record
How often do I need x-rays
Modern, digital X-Ray machines use a low dose of radiation to capture detailed images of your mouth’s structure. X-Rays help your dentist see problems like infections, cavities between teeth, impacted wisdom teeth and much more. Once a year is a typical schedule for adults, although your dentist may recommend X-Rays more or less often.
What is dental cleaning
Dental cleaning is the disruption of the bacteria and plaque attached to your teeth below the gum line. Professional cleaning will remove hard deposits called tartar or calculus, and remove food stains from your teeth that brushing alone won’t resolve.
Why dental cleaning is important
A professional dental cleaning is necessary because there are some important elements of oral hygiene that can’t be accomplished effectively at home. The bacteria that live in your mouth are responsible for gingivitis, cavities and bad breath.
When you practice good oral hygiene, you will:
- Have less plaque to remove during routine dental checkups, so professional cleanings will be faster and more comfortable
- Minimize your need for dental procedures due to tooth decay or gum disease
- Minimize your annual dental budget
- Feel healthier
- Enjoy fresher breath
- Be more confident about your smile
How dental cleaning is done
Your teeth are cleaned using an ultra-sonic tool or a dental scraper to remove plaque from above and below the gumline. Afterwards, your teeth are polished and flossed.
When deep cleaning is necessary
Most people need a dental cleaning every six months, but some people need them more often. People who build up tartar quickly, have Type II diabetes, or have gum disease may need to see the dentist three or four times a year.
Dental cleaning versus deep cleaning
As gum disease advances from gingivitis to periodontitis, your gums loosen to get away from the toxins in the plaque and calculus (tartar). This allows bacteria to travel even farther below the gumline. When you get to that point, you need scaling and root planning, aka “deep cleaning.”
This video shows you the differences between scaling and root planing and a routine dental cleaning to prevent and treat periodontal disease.