Dentistry is designed to be a preventive practice, and dental cleanings are one of the main tools dentists use to help ensure you remain healthy. Maintaining a regular schedule of dental cleanings can help maintain your brilliantly white smile, and ensure that your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible. This procedure is extremely affordable, and is one of the most effective and simple ways to ensure your smile stays healthy. Visits should be scheduled every six months for best results. For more information on dental cleanings, continue reading our handy guide.
Why are dental cleanings important?
Regular dental cleanings remove the plaque and tartar that naturally builds up on your teeth over time. This buildup provides the perfect conditions for harmful bacteria to multiply, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and gingivitis. Your bi-annual cleaning visits provide your dentist with an excellent opportunity to check the health of your teeth and gums, as well as check any past dental work to ensure it does not need any repairs.
Regular cleanings provide your dentist with an opportunity to perform oral cancer screenings which are incredibly important. Oral cancer is one of the lesser-known forms of the disease, though it affects nearly 40,000 people each year in the United States. As with other forms of the disease, early detection and treatment is the key to ensuring that you have the best outcome possible if oral cancer is found.
In addition to maintaining proper oral health, regular dental cleanings are essential to your overall health. Your mouth is a breeding ground for a variety of harmful bacteria. If not cleaned regularly, these bacteria can multiply and spread to the rest of your body, leaving to health issues in the rest of your body as well. Recent studies have found that poor oral health and hygiene may even lead to an increased risk for stroke and heart disease.
What to expect from your dental cleaning
In most cases, dental cleanings are performed in a single visit lasting less than an hour. During your visit, your dentist will first perform a thorough examination to identify any serious dental issues that may be present, as well as to evaluate your oral hygiene practices and brushing technique. They will usually also take x-rays of your teeth and compare them to previous visits in order to asses any changes in your tooth and bone structure or bite. Then, they will use a number of specialized dental instruments to remove any plaque or tartar that may have accumulated on your teeth and along the gum line. These instruments may include:
- A hand scaler or scraper
- A polisher
- An ultrasonic tool
- Fluoride gel
While this may feel a bit uncomfortable, you will usually not experience any pain during this process. If it has been awhile since your last cleaning, your dentist may recommend that you return for a series of more thorough deep cleaning procedures to ensure that all of the deposits are removed from your teeth. They will also use this visit to discuss any further dental work you may need, and schedule those procedures as well. If they notice a problem with your oral hygiene practices, they will discuss this with you as well, as well as reviewing proper brushing technique and ways you can ensure you are getting the proper amount of fluoride from your diet.
What to expect after your dental cleaning
Some patients report that their teeth and gums are slightly more sensitive after having their teeth cleaned. You will need to ensure that you brush gently, and if you experience soreness, your dentist may recommend that you refrain from flossing for a few days. If you have experienced soreness following a cleaning in the past, letting your dentist know can help them avoid this problem in the future. They may also give you a recommendation for a special toothpaste or rinse that you can use to help alleviate the soreness. Often, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help if you are experiencing pain. Following your cleaning, your teeth with be more prone to staining, so it is important that you avoid drinking coffee, tea, or wine, and refrain from smoking or using other tobacco products for the next day or two.
Remember, scheduling professional dental cleanings are an essential part to maintaining your overall oral and physical health. If it is time for your regular cleaning, or if you have been putting off your regular appointment for any reason please call Kenneth Hill, DDS today at (702) 897-7267 to schedule your consultation. Our caring and professional staff will ensure that your smile stays as healthy as possible, and will help ensure that you remain comfortable and at ease throughout your visit. Call us today and let us help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.