Scheduling regular Dental Cleanings with your dentist helps protect your Teeth & Oral Health. Midtown Dental uses the latest technology to maximize your health benefits for regularly scheduled Teeth Cleanings.
Dental cleanings are recommended routinely. For individuals with minimal inflammation or relatively health gums, six-month maintenance appointments are recommended. If you are diagnosed as having periodontal disease or have difficulty brushing and flossing on a routine basis, you may be recommended to come in on a three or four month basis to fight disease and inflammation. Unfortunately, most dental insurances only cover two cleanings per year even though many individuals with history of gum disease or at high risk of cavities may benefit from more frequent recare. It is important to remember that a small investment in prevention now may save you significant time and money in the future. Your Sacramento dentist can discuss some of your risk factors and design a prevention plan that works best for you.
It is important to remember most oral diseases come from bacteria. Bacteria feed on carbohydrates and sugars breaking them down and creating acid as a byproduct. Acid can then create cavities in your teeth or promote gum disease. If we limit starchy and sugary foods and beverages, we can minimize our risk to these bacteria avoiding dental issues and dental emergencies. Children’s oral health is particularly important because we can educate them early on before getting all their adult teeth in, setting them up for good oral health for the resto of their lives.
What is a Dental Cleaning?
A dental cleaning or a “prophy” is one of the most common procedures for dental health today. Scheduling regular teeth cleaning appointments with your dentist or hygienist are one of the best ways to take care of your teeth and maintain healthy smile. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, even healthy gums require preventative prophylaxis every six months.
Why is a Dental Cleaning Important?
At Midtown Dental in Sacramento, preventive dentistry is one of our top priorities. Having regular professional teeth cleanings and check-ups help prevent cavities and tartar buildup while guarding against major problems developing like gum disease and tooth decay. Even if you are diligent about your oral hygiene at home, regular dental visits every six months for teeth cleaning and exams are vital for dental health. In addition to identifying any potential problems, once your teeth have been professionally cleaned, the now-smooth tooth surfaces make it more difficult for plaque to accumulate before the next cleaning.
Plaque starts accumulating again as early as 24 hours after your teeth are cleaned. This is why we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day for a full two minutes each session as well as flossing once a day. The longer plaque sits on your teeth harboring cavity and gum disease producing bacteria, the more likely that plaque will turn into tartar. Tartar or calculus, is essentially calcified plaque that is much more difficult to remove. Typically, only a professional cleaning will remove this build up. This is why daily hygiene is such an integral part of your oral health care.
The Dental Cleaning Visit
During your dental cleaning appointment at Midtown Dental in Sacramento, your hygienist will perform many services to ensure that you leave with a beautiful smile, including:
- Remove Plaque and Tartar
- Tooth Polishing
- Fluoride Application
- Dental Exam
Remove Plaque and Tartar
One of the first and most basic aspects of your dental cleaning is the removal of plaque and tartar from your teeth. Using a small mirror, your hygienist uses either a hand scaler or an electric scaler for removing plaque from between your teeth and around your gums. Often, you will hear a scraping noise, which is very normal. The more tartar there is, the more scraping you will hear. Regularly brushing and flossing at home stops plaque from building up and turning into tartar. Once the tarter has developed, it can only be removed from through a dental cleaning. Your hygienist will go over the proper brushing methods and flossing techniques with you at your visit.
The next step in the cleaning appointment is tooth polishing. This is often the most fun part of the dental cleaning appointment. Once all the plaque has been removed from around your teeth and gums, your dental hygienist will use a special type of flavored pumice to polish the teeth. The pumice often has a gritty texture to ensure a complete and thorough polish.
Finally, your dental cleaning appointment will conclude with an application of fluoride to help prevent cavities from developing on your teeth. A foamy fluoride is applied to the teeth for about one minute. There are several different fun flavors of fluoride to choose from.
After your teeth are clean, your Sacramento dentist will examine them for signs of tooth decay, using a metal probe and a small mirror with an angled handle. The examination also checks for gum swelling and redness and measures the depth of the gingival pockets.
Oral Hygiene at Home
Oral hygiene and diet are the key most important factors in minimizing your risk for dental cavities and gum disease. Remember to brush at least twice a day a full 2 minutes each session with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. We strongly urge patients to use a reputable electronic toothbrush in order to get the most out of your home care. Oral B and Sonicare are both great brands that have sound research.
We also recommend brushing with dental floss once a day. Technique is very important. You must wrap your floss against each tooth in a “C” shape and run it down the contact of each tooth. We also recommend a variety of interdental cleaners if flossing is difficult or not possible. During your hygiene visit, your hygienist will discuss your personalized home care recommendations. Not every patient is alike and therefore not every prevention plan will be the same. It is important to discuss honestly some of the challenges you face in your home care regimen so that we can better make recommendations that will work for you.