A professional dental cleaning is the removal of all plaque bacteria from teeth surfaces by a dental professional. Plaque bacteria builds up on all tooth surfaces, above and below the gum line in a matter of hours from exposure to food and drinks. Plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing at home can turn into hardened bacteria called tartar that will then have to be scraped off during the dental cleaning. The dental professional will use scraping instruments and sometimes even a small machine that sprays water to get this tartar off. Once all of the plaque and tartar has been removed, the teeth will be polished to remove any stains. Also, during a professional dental cleaning, an oral assessment and diagnosis will be completed, checking all areas of the mouth for any signs of infection, inflammation, cavities or lesions.
Professional dental cleanings are essential because the dental professional can remove plaque bacteria from nooks and crannies that are difficult to access at home with just a toothbrush and floss. Once the plaque has hardened into tartar, it is impossible to remove at home and will continue to grow until it is removed during a cleaning. Plaque bacteria is damaging for the teeth and gums and if left can lead to gum disease and cavities. During the examination, the dental professional can also catch cavities in the beginning stages, preventing larger issues from occurring, as well as diagnose any gum disease.
The frequency for the dental cleaning will be recommended by the dental professional based on the need. Typically, the frequency will be between every 3-6 months. More frequent dental cleanings will be recommended for any patient with current or previous gum disease, recession, higher cavity risk, tooth loss, etc. While six-month cleanings will be advised for patients will good oral health that brush and floss daily. It is not recommended to go longer than six months between cleanings, as during this time changes to the health of the teeth and gums may occur and will go unchecked.
If you believe you may be due for a cleaning or have any questions about it, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.