Getting your teeth cleaned regularly is a great way to protect your oral health. But for many people, regular teeth cleanings can be very uncomfortable. You may wonder if it’s necessary to get your teeth cleaned even if your teeth feel healthy.
What are the benefits of teeth cleaning every 6 months? Let’s look at what your dental team is doing during your routine cleanings and why these check-ups are so important.
BENEFITS OF PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING
If you have good overall oral health, your dentist will likely recommend getting your teeth cleaned every six months. Why should you see the dentist twice per year if everything is healthy?
WHAT HAPPENS AT A ROUTINE DENTAL CLEANING?
Obviously one of our main goals during your regular cleanings is to remove buildup. Plaque is a gel-like film made of bacteria and bacterial byproducts. With great home care habits, you can get most of this plaque off at home when you brush and floss.
However, even the best technique can’t get everything. Your floss can only reach about three millimeters below your gums. That means any area of unattached gum tissue deeper than 4mm won’t get cleaned even with the best flossing technique.
Likewise, your toothbrush is great for cleaning above the gums, but can’t reach below the gum line. That’s where your hygienist focuses during your regular cleanings.
Other than plaque, there is also tartar. The dental term for tartar is calculus. It’s a hard, rough, chalky mineral buildup that develops where plaque absorbs minerals from your saliva and becomes calcified. You won’t be able to remove calculus from your teeth with a toothbrush and floss.
Unfortunately, tartar is also very damaging to your gum tissue. Tartar below the gums can damage the support systems that keep your teeth in place, including the gum tissue, ligaments, and even the bone sockets.
Your hygienist will carefully feel below your gums for any calcified deposits and fully remove them, leaving your teeth smooth and relieving irritation to your gums.
We’ll also remove stains and polish your teeth so you can enjoy a refreshed, beautiful smile!
WHAT DOES MY HYGENIST DO BESIDES CLEANING MY TEETH?
Yes! In addition to cleaning every tooth surface carefully, your hygienist will also collect diagnostics to track any changes to the health of your teeth and gums.
We’ll measure your gums to keep a close watch on any developing gum disease. We’ll also take regular check-up x-rays which will allow us to see many issues and perform timely treatments. Your hygienist will examine all areas of your mouth, checking for any unusual lesions on your teeth as well as your tongue, cheeks, and palate.
This close visual inspection gives us a chance to screen for problems like oral cancer. Early detection is essential to effective treatment, and your regular dental cleaning is a great way to keep an eye on any potential suspicious areas.
WHY DOES MY HYGEINIST SAY THAT I NEED MORE THAN 2 CLEANINGS PER YEAR?
For some patients, it’s better to get your teeth cleaned every three or four months rather than every six. There are several reasons your dentist or hygienist might recommend more frequent cleanings, such as:
You build up heavy plaque.
Tartar builds up on your teeth faster than other people’s.
Your teeth become heavily stained between visits.
You have a history of periodontal disease and bone loss.
We’re treating active gum disease.
You have systemic health problems that put you at higher risk for oral health problems.
In some cases, your dental team may recommend temporarily getting your teeth cleaned more frequently. For example, if you’ve developed gingivitis, are undergoing certain medical treatments such as cancer treatments, or you’re experiencing certain health conditions that can affect your gums such as pregnancy.
I HATE GETTING MY TEETH CLEANED, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Talk to us about it! Many people experience intense tooth sensitivity, tender gums, or a strong gag reflex during their routine dental cleanings. If getting your teeth cleaned is a struggle, you’re not alone.
Let Dr. Anderson and your dental hygienist know about your discomfort during dental cleanings. We have many options for making dental cleanings more comfortable for you.
Many patients benefit from numbing gel to control gum tenderness. In some cases, nitrous oxide is a great way to stay relaxed and comfortable during your routine cleanings. If you have painful or sensitive teeth in one area, we may be able to numb the area completely.
Our number one goal for every visit to our office is to give you the best, most comfortable experience possible. If fear of discomfort has ever made you want to put off a dental cleaning, let us know. We’re here for you!