Regardless of the type of toothbrush you use and your oral care routine at home, it is still essential that you have professional cleanings done regularly. A licensed dental hygienist is trained and experienced to offer these cleanings. Every patient should come in for regular cleanings and, in fact, children as young as one or two years old should be keeping up with these routine appointments.
How Often Should Professional Cleanings Be Done?
You should strive to have professional cleanings done twice a year. Pre-scheduling your cleaning appointments makes it easier to remember these visits so that you never have to worry about missing a cleaning. The point of twice-yearly cleanings is to remove hardened plaque and tartar from the teeth as well as check the health of your gums. Cleanings are often followed with an exam, which checks for cavities and other intra-oral problems that can be treated before they’re allowed to get worse. No matter how long it’s been since your last dental appointment, it’s never too late to start taking good care of your teeth and getting on a regular cleaning schedule.
Importance of Professional Cleanings
Brushing and flossing at home often isn’t enough to keep teeth completely clean. Over the course of a few months, many patients begin to develop hardened plaque, known as calculus, on different surfaces of their teeth. This calculus often rests on top of the gums and against the teeth, and it can cause issues with gingivitis and cavities. The cleaning works to remove this hardened plaque so that your teeth and gums underneath can be properly cleaned when you brush and floss at home. It is nearly impossible for you to remove calculus on your own without the proper professional dental tools. Likewise, regular professional cleanings help to keep track of gum health. The small pockets around your teeth will be measured at each cleaning appointment, and depending on how deep these pockets happen to be, it could signal gingivitis or gum disease.
What to Expect During a Cleaning
Cleanings and exams are normally done in under an hour. The hygienist will most likely take x-rays before the cleaning and then check your gums for signs of gingivitis or gum disease. The teeth are then carefully cleaned to remove calculus and tartar and then polished. The exam is done next and helps to identify problems that can be treated early on to promote better oral health.