Why are Professional Teeth Cleanings So Important?

Seeing your dental hygienist for consistent teeth cleaning visits is essential to maintaining good oral health and preventing dental diseases.  Some people end up missing a teeth cleaning appointment for one reason or another, and they forgot to reschedule it.  Getting off track on your cleaning schedule can have a harmful effect on your health. 

That’s because professional teeth cleanings are SO important.  We’ll explain here.

What Happens during a Professional Teeth Cleaning?

Many people miss all the components of a professional teeth cleaning, which may cause them to underestimate its value.  Consider all of these things occurring during a cleaning visit with your dental hygienist.

Removal of Bacterial Buildup

During a professional teeth cleaning, your dental hygienist uses specialized dental instruments to remove all of the soft plaque and hard tartar buildup that has collected on your teeth since your last cleaning.  Ideally, you would remove all of the soft plaque through your own oral hygiene at home on a daily basis.  However, no one is perfect at plaque removal. 

Areas of plaque that remain on the teeth often mineralize, or harden, into tartar buildup, which you cannot remove with brushing and flossing.  Your hygienist must remove it for you.  By removing all of the bacterial buildup from the teeth, you essentially receive a “clean slate” in your mouth.

Polishing of Tooth Surfaces

You likely remember the polishing step, during which your hygienist uses a gritty flavored paste to smooth and polish the teeth.  This polishing leaves a glossy, shiny surface which is able to better resist plaque buildup.

Polishing also removes superficial stains from the teeth, giving you a brighter, whiter smile!

Oral Hygiene Instructions

As your hygienist is cleaning and polishing the teeth, he or she is assessing areas of buildup in order to determine where you might need improvement in your brushing and flossing techniques.  Your hygienist can instruct you in different methods for removing plaque at home.  He or she will also introduce you to various accessory tools you can use to reach those difficult areas better. 

Disease Risk Assessment

Each person has an individual risk for different dental problems.  One may have a high risk for cavities, while another is predisposed to gum disease.  Some people have healthy teeth and gums, but they risk damaging them through the harmful habit of clenching and/or grinding.  Your hygienist has undergone specialized training to recognize the warning signs of these dental problems and inform you of your unique risk factors.  By knowing and addressing risk factors, you can reduce your chance of suffering from dental problems.

Oral Cancer Screening

As the hygienist is cleaning the teeth, he or she is also assessing all of the soft tissues inside the mouth.  Your hygienist and dentist both perform oral cancer screenings as they evaluate the health of the teeth, gums, jaws, and lining of the mouth.  The Oral Cancer Foundation recommends professional oral cancer screenings for every adult at least once per year.

What are the Risks of Skipping my Professional Teeth Cleanings?

When you skip a cleaning, you typically experience an increased amount of bacterial buildup on the teeth.  This increases the risk for cavities, gum disease and bad breath. 

Missing oral cancer screenings can place you at a higher risk for late stage oral cancer.  Oral cancer is not a particularly deadly cancer.  When caught in its early stages, patients have a high survival rate.  The only reason there is a relatively high death rate from oral cancer is that many people remain unaware of it until it reaches a late stage.  You can prevent that from occurring by keeping consistent dental visits!

How Often Should I Have a Professional Teeth Cleaning?

The generally accepted rule for healthy adults with a low risk for cavities and gum disease is teeth cleanings every six months.  Some people, with a high risk for dental problems, require more frequent teeth cleanings.  To understand the right frequency for your own unique situation, you must understand your risk level for a variety of dental problems.  Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara and Dr. Summer can help you by assessing your current risk factors and prescribing a schedule of professional teeth cleanings that will keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

More Questions about Professional Teeth Cleanings?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a visit with one of our wonderful dental hygienists.  We love helping our patients keep their teeth clean and prevent dental disease.

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