Dental cleanings are an integral part of routine dentistry. You may notice that, when you visit our Hedgesville office, we will schedule you for both an exam and cleaning every six months. While the necessity for dental exams is well-known and understood, many people question the reasoning for twice-a-year cleanings. After all, most people do brush their teeth every day (hopefully twice!). Here, we want to point out what goes on during those professional dental cleanings and what they do for oral health.
Routine dental cleanings often take place immediately after a dental exam. The exam portion of the visit can alert us to any particular needs. For instance, if an exam identifies periodontal space that is greater than 4 mm, a deeper cleaning may be needed to prevent damage to root structure. In the absence of moderate gum inflammation, a routine dental cleaning typically involves:
- Scraping to remove plaque and tartar. The biofilm that develops around the gum line needs to be carefully removed, ideally before it hardens. Softer biofilm is called plaque. The hardened substance is called tartar. Both are formed by bacteria, debris, and saliva. Both pose a risk to tooth and gum health. Both can be removed with gentle technique and a special instrument.
- Clean and polish. The second step in a dental cleaning is the actually cleaning of tooth surfaces using gritty toothpaste and a special mechanized “brush.” The rotating head cleans debris off tooth surfaces and buffs enamel. This is why cleanings are a great way to keep your smile bright and radiant.
- When your hygienist or dentist flosses your teeth, debris can be released from places that have been inadvertently missed with home care. For a step that doesn’t take very long, professional flossing makes a significant difference in oral health.
Sometimes, cleanings also include an oral rinse or application of fluoride or dental sealants.
How Professional Cleanings Support Your Smile
Everyone likes the idea of having a fresh, attractive, healthy smile. When you stay current on dental cleanings, you gain benefits that include reduced risks of:
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- Costly dental care to repair damaged teeth
- Diminished cosmetic appearance
- General health problems caused or exacerbated by dental plaque
Our experienced staff provides professional care in a friendly environment. To schedule your exam and cleaning, call (304) 754-8803.