We all know that having regular dental cleanings is good for our oral health, but most of us do not understand how it affects our oral health. While daily oral home care is vital for maintaining oral health, regular dental cleanings are important to help remove buildup that may have been missed. Even with proper brushing and flossing technique, there are a few factors that make regular dental cleanings necessary.

What is a dental cleaning?

A dental cleaning is also referred to as dental hygiene treatment or dental prophylaxis. It involves removing bacteria, plaque, calculus (tartar) and external stains by a dental professional. In most cases, a dental hygienist will perform the dental hygiene treatment.

Why is it necessary?

Regular dental hygiene appointments are necessary to maintain oral health by preventing gum disease. Gum disease is also referred to as gingivitis and this causes inflammation of the gum tissues. Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed easily or bleed while brushing or flossing. Gums that are swollen, red and/or tender are also symptoms of gum disease.

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can sometimes progress to periodontitis in certain individuals, which involves breakdown of not only the gum tissue but the bone tissue surrounding the teeth as well. Periodontitis is not reversible. Gingivitis is reversible with regular dental cleanings, if it is treated early.

How is the frequency of dental hygiene treatment determined?

The number of dental hygiene appointments required in a period of time are based on your current oral health and risk factors that are unique to you as well as your previous oral health history. Patients who have lost gum tissue due to periodontal disease will have more of their tooth structure exposed. It is recommended that these patients have a dental cleaning often in order to properly clean the additional exposed surfaces.

Some patients may also have deep areas under their gums that are referred to as periodontal pockets. These pockets occur due to breakdown of gum and bone tissue caused by periodontal disease. Even with daily flossing and brushing, it is not possible to access and clean these areas properly. If bacteria is left under the gums, it can lead to serious infections and tooth abscesses.

For patients that are prone to cavities or dental decay, or have a history of dental decay, it is recommended that they have regular dental hygiene treatment to prevent further decay and to monitor their oral health. If dental issues can be detected early, less invasive treatment will be required later.

What does it involve?

A typical dental hygiene appointment consists of the dental hygienist using specialized tools to gently remove plaque and calculus buildup and left over food debris from all surfaces of the teeth. The length of the appointment will depend on the amount of buildup in the mouth. In some cases, multiple appointments may be required to remove all of the buildup, especially if it has been a long time since the last dental hygiene treatment. After removal of the deposits, the teeth may be polished to remove any external stains from the teeth. The hygienist may also apply fluoride in a topical form to help remineralize or strengthen the teeth.

If it has been a while since your last dental hygiene appointment, or if you have symptoms of gum disease, contact us now to schedule your dental hygiene treatment.

CALL: (416) 233-9581