If you’re a good dental patient, you brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing your teeth twice a day — right before you start your day and right before you go to bed — may seem like all the effort you need to exert on your part. You may be dreading going into your dentist’s office and wondering, “Is teeth cleaning necessary?”
To put it blankly, the answer is yes — regular professional cleanings are necessary for your dental health and overall systemic health. During a professional cleaning, your hygienist and dentist will check for and deal with any problems you might fail to notice during your at-home cleanings, such as hard-set plaque and tartar build-up. Your dentist will also perform an oral cancer screening and evaluate the health of individual teeth and existing restorations.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about dental cleanings and how to best care for your teeth.
What happens during a dental cleaning?
The first step in a dental cleaning is for a dental hygienist to perform a physical examination of your teeth. During this examination, the hygienist will look over your teeth and gums. The purpose of this inspection is to look for potential concerns such as gum disease, gingivitis, cavities, and failing dental work, as it’s best to observe these issues sooner rather than later.
After your hygienist completes their initial assessment, they’ll start to clean your teeth. The cleaning begins with the removal of any remaining plaque or tartar build-up. There are many different devices that can aid in tartar removal, such as a scaler, which is a small tool used that helps with picking away hard-set build-ups. You may hear scraping, but it’s completely normal and painless. There are also vibrating devices called ultrasonics that remove both tartar and stains.
Once your hygienist removes the plaque and tartar, they will brush your teeth using a special gritty toothpaste and a high-power brush. This gritty toothpaste gently scrubs away the remaining build-up. Your hygienist will also discuss either rinsing or applying a fluoride gel.
The specialized knowledge that a hygienist offers makes the answer to “Is teeth cleaning necessary?” a resounding “yes.”
Why should they be done every 6 months?
“Is teeth cleaning necessary?” is a question that may cross your mind, especially if you have established a rigorous at-home routine. There are several reasons you should get a regular dental cleaning every six months, and we’ll explore a few of them below.
Regular dental cleanings can prevent and slow the progression of gum disease before it becomes a severe problem. It’s during a dental cleaning that a hygienist can check for signs of this issue, like red and swollen gums. Discovering the problem early on makes treating it a simple process. Even if you don’t suspect you have this problem, we suggest scheduling an appointment anyway. You never know what potential problems are lurking in the shadows.
Many systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea have signs that show up in the mouth. Your dental hygienist is trained to identify these signs and discuss them with you and your dentist.
Cleaning can also prevent plaque build-up. While cleaning your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once will help remove plaque, it can be incredibly difficult to remove it yourself once it sets. Hard-set plaque contains many bacteria that can cause issues and discolor your teeth, but a dentist possesses the specialized tools required to remove it. The bacteria in plaque can cause cavities and contribute to the systemic diseases already mentioned.
Once you take a look at your new smile, you may find you have an answer when asking yourself, “Is teeth cleaning necessary?”
Caring for Your Teeth Between Cleanings
Taking care of your teeth between cleanings doesn’t need to be challenging. There are a few things you might be able to change or small steps to add to your daily routines that can help in the effort to keep your teeth healthy.
The first step you could take is as simple as swapping your toothpaste. Toothpaste containing fluoride can help prevent tooth decay by fighting plaque, so it’s worth looking at what you currently use and swapping it for something more effective.
Simply brushing your teeth doesn’t always manage to completely clean them, so another option to help your oral hygiene is to work flossing into your routine. Flossing between your teeth removes plaque and any other debris that remains in your mouth after brushing. If you find that flossing hurts your gums, there are alternatives to dental floss, such as a water flosser. Also, it is possible that you are not flossing correctly.
If you have a manual toothbrush, you might also want to consider swapping it for an electric toothbrush. Most come with oscillating-rotating technology that provides a consistent, rigorous brushing motion. The oscillation and rotation allow for thorough cleaning of your teeth. You only need to guide the brush head around carefully to get an effective clean.
Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, you should ensure you don’t brush too vigorously. Doing so can wear down your natural enamel and damage your gums.
What should I do if it’s been more than 6 months since my last cleaning?
If it has been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, you might think it’s too late to visit your dentist. The nagging question of, “Is teeth cleaning necessary?” may once again cross your mind. However, we recommend you make an appointment as soon as possible. Within those 6+ months, your oral hygiene could have deteriorated without you realizing it. Potential issues like gum disease may have set in, and tartar and plaque may have found refuge in your mouth. Many oral diseases are painless until they are severe. For your oral well-being, it’s important to have a dental hygienist work their magic every six months.
While you’re waiting for your appointment, look for ways to improve your oral health, such as flossing or purchasing a new toothpaste. These tips can prevent problems from arising in between making and attending your appointment.
Schedule a Dental Cleaning at Our South Tampa Office
Stop wondering, “Is teeth cleaning necessary?” Your oral health is important to your physical health, appearance, and confidence. Maintain a lovely smile and attitude by visiting a dental hygienist as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment at Muscaro and Martini Dentistry in South Tampa, Florida for a cleaning today.