If you want to keep your teeth for most of your life, it pays to practice good dental hygiene and see a dentist a few times each year. One of those visits will focus on a full dental exam. The others will involve a thorough dental cleaning. Perhaps you tend to view cleanings as optional or wonder if they really accomplish much. Here are some questions that people ask about dental cleanings and why they are an important part of good dental care.
What is a Dental or Tooth Cleaning?
A dental cleaning refers to the process of removing residue from teeth and gums that is left behind after brushing and flossing. The goal is to get rid of any lingering plaque, tartar, and other residue that increases the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Doing so leaves the patient with a sense of freshness in the mouth that is enjoyable. It also helps reduce the risks of developing a number of issues with the teeth and gums.
A dental cleaning is not a substitute for daily dental hygiene. You still need to brush after meals, floss on a regular basis, and use a mouthwash that helps to remove bacteria from the oral cavity. It’s the combination of your efforts at home and the professional cleaning by a hygienist that will increase the odds of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
What is Included in a Dental Cleaning?
There is more than one type of dental cleaning in Markham, Ontario. Your dentist will determine which solution is right in your case. All types of cleanings will involve removal of plaque and other residue from the surface of the teeth. It will include removing any type of residue that’s collected in between the teeth. Most cleanings will end with a thorough brushing by the professional. Along the way, the dental team will be on the lookout for any signs of developing issues. This is important, since diagnosing an issue early on means limiting damage to the teeth and gums.
Does a Dental Cleaning Hurt?
Unless you have unusually sensitive teeth, you do not have to be concerned about pain during a dental cleaning. Even if your teeth are sensitive, a professional knows how to remove any buildup without triggering much discomfort.
During the actual cleaning, you are always free to tell the dental professional that you are experiencing discomfort. There are options to dull the pain and allow the cleaning to continue.
What is the Difference Between Regular Cleaning and Deep Cleaning?
Since there are two types of dental cleaning, it pays to understand what sets them apart. A regular or basic cleaning is focuses primarily on the part of the teeth that protrude from the gum. It also focuses on the general condition of the gums. Some dentists include what is known as a tongue scraping as part of a regular cleaning. This simply involves using a dental tool to go over the tongue surface to remove additional bacteria.
A deep cleaning may occur when there is some indication of bacteria just under the gum line. In this scenario, the dental team is more likely to take a set of X-rays before the cleaning begins. That makes it possible to determine how much residue is trapped below the gum line.
Along with everything that’s part of a regular cleaning, the deep cleaning will include removing residue from the below the gums. That’s important, since the removal helps to limit the potential for some type of infection or disease. The work below the gum line is minimally invasive and may require the use of a local anesthetic.
The type of cleaning you need may vary depending on how long it’s been since the last one, and the current condition of your teeth and gums. In many cases, all you will need is for the professional to clean your teeth and gums. The deep cleaning may be something that you only need once in a great while, or if there are signs of some type of irritating matter just below the gum line.
What Does a Cleaning Do For Bacteria in the Mouth?
Not all bacteria is bad. In fact, you do need a reasonable amount in the mouth in order to keep the gums healthy. Excessive amounts of bacteria will have the opposite effect, in that it could promote a wide range of dental problems.
The cleaning helps to restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. Rather than increasing the odds of experiencing more dental issues, restoring the balance makes it easier to take care of your teeth and avoid a number of those issues. The money you spend on the dental cleaning cost tends to pale when you consider what it would cost to deal with those other issues later on.
Will Cleanings Reduce My Risk of Tooth Decay?
A good example of how a dental cleaning promotes oral health has to do with the teeth. Plaque, tartar, and other residue can coat the tooth and begin to weaken the enamel. That in turn makes it all the easier for bacteria to increase and begin to break down tooth tissue. The result is decay that will slowly take over an entire tooth. If left unchecked, it will also begin to spread to the surrounding teeth.
When you have a cleaning and the excess bacteria is removed, the potential for developing a cavity is reduced. You still need to brush, floss, and use mouthwash, but the cleaning reinforces the benefits associated with all those activities. You can definitely say that cleanings help reduce the possibility of developing tooth decay.
How About Helping With My Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be a sign that your teeth are not thoroughly clean or that you have some sort of gastrointestinal issue that needs addressing. In most cases, it will be more about the residue in the mouth and less about some other health issue. The good news is that the dental cleaning procedure will do quite a bit to freshen your breath.
The residue is the cause of the less than favourable aroma. Once the teeth and gums are cleaned, the tongue is scraped, and the oral cavity is checked for any signs of other factors that may be causing issues, you will definitely notice a difference in the way your teeth feel. Along with the heightened sense of freshness, you can bet that your breath is much more appealing.
Can a Cleaning Uncover Tooth Damage?
During the dental cleaning, the dental professional will be on the lookout for any damage to the teeth. Once the plaque and other residue is out of the way, it’s much easier to determine if there are any tiny fractures in each tooth, spot weakened enamel, and even notice if the teeth seem to be worn down because of grinding. While some of these issues can be found even if your teeth are not recently cleaned, they are much easier to detect once the residue is out of the way. see those cleanings as one more strategy that makes earlier detection of dental problems easier.
Will a Cleaning Help With Non-Dental Health?
Having your teeth cleaned on a regular basis is important any time. What you may not realize is that it can also be helpful if you are managing a chronic condition, facing some type of operation to correct a health issue, or if you are expecting.
Your dental health has a connection to your physical health in general. From the bacteria in the mouth to dental issues that include infections, your body’s immune system is working to help keep them in check. That in turn may lead to unnecessary complications with other ailments or conditions
You certainly want to undergo a dental cleaning before surgery. Doing so ensures no type of dental condition will interfere with keeping you stable during the procedure. It can also mean there is one less factor to slow down your rate of recovery.
If you are expecting, it does make sense to have a dental cleaning while pregnant. Reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth also minimizes the potential for problems that could make the pregnancy more difficult. See the cleaning as a good way to keep the teeth in good condition and a means of protecting your unborn child.
How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?
How frequently should you have a dental cleaning? A good rule of thumb is to have a cleaning twice a year. Depending on certain factors, your dentist may recommend that you come in for a cleaning more often. For example, someone who uses any type of tobacco products would do well to come in more often, possibly even once every three months.
Even if you do an excellent job of brushing and flossing at home, a couple of dental cleanings each year should still be part of your ongoing dental carer routine. Could you use a cleaning right now? Call your dentist and schedule one. The investment of time and effort will make a difference in the years to come.