General Dentistry

What is Dental Cleaning?

A dental cleaning, medically referred to as prophylaxis, is a preventive procedure aimed at improving oral health by removing plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. The cleaning process is crucial in preventive oral health care as it decreases the likelihood of dental diseases such as tooth decay and gum diseases.

Understanding Dental Cleaning

Dental cleaning is more than just ordinary brushing and flossing at home. It involves a comprehensive cleaning process done by dental hygienists to help maintain good oral health. Despite regular home care, certain areas in the mouth may be hard-reach, causing plaque and tartar build-up. Plaque is a bacterial film that forms on the surfaces of teeth, while tartar, also known as calculus, results from the hardened plaque. Dental cleaning aims to address these issues that ordinary brushing or flossing cannot handle effectively.

Why is Dental Cleaning Important?

The importance of dental cleaning cannot be overstated. Regular professional cleanings can help in the early detection of oral issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, it aids in the prevention of bad breath, often caused by the accumulated bacteria on the tongue or between teeth.

Moreover, oral health is a reflection of overall health. Research suggests a strong link between oral health and systemic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Dental cleanings, hence, take on a broader role contributing to overall wellness apart from just maintaining oral health.

The Dental Cleaning Process

Initial Examination

A dental hygienist, using a small mirror, will check around your teeth and gums for any signs of gingivitis or other potential concerns. If major dental issues are detected, they may recommend visiting a dentist before proceeding with the cleaning.

Removing Plaque and Tartar

The dental hygienist uses a device called a scaler to get rid of plaque and tartar around the gumline and between your teeth. The more tartar there is in your mouth, the more time they’ll need to scrape a particular spot.

Brushing and Flossing

After your teeth are completely tartar-free, the hygienist brushes them using a high-powered electric brush. They will floss your teeth and follow it with a rinse to get rid of any debris.

Fluoride Treatment

Lastly, a fluoride treatment is applied which serves as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities until your next visit.

Common FAQs About Dental Cleaning

How often should I get a dental cleaning?

The American Dental Association recommends regular dental visits at intervals determined by your dentist for professional cleanings and oral exams. Generally, one dental cleaning every six months is considered standard. However, depending on specific oral health needs, the dentist might recommend more frequent visits.

Is dental cleaning painful?

Dental cleanings should not be painful. However, if you haven’t had your teeth cleaned in a long time, you might experience some discomfort or sensitivity.

Can dental cleaning whiten my teeth?

While a professional cleaning can remove surface stains making your teeth appear whiter, it is not a whitening treatment. Teeth whitening involves the use of bleaching agents to lighten the color of your teeth.

In Conclusion

Dental cleaning is an essential preventive measure that plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, and by extension, contributes to overall health. It is more comprehensive than routine brushing and flossing, tackling hard-to-reach areas to remove build-up of plaque and tartar. Coupled with good oral home care, regular professional dental cleanings can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues, while also serving as an opportunity for early problem detection.

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