If you’re not having any dental problems, why do you need to go to the dentist every six months? It turns out there are many reasons.
Our expert dental team at OK Tooth in Midtown Manhattan, New York, is passionate about preventive care, and that includes dental cleanings twice a year. To help you maintain good oral health, we’re using this month’s blog to explain the things we look for during a dental cleaning that make it a good idea to keep these appointments.
The importance of professional dental cleanings
You go to your primary care provider for an annual physical to ensure your body’s overall well-being, so why wouldn’t you schedule a routine dental cleaning to ensure your oral health?
While brushing and flossing every day is important, they can’t always get to the hard-to-reach crevices between your teeth to remove all of the plaque. And if plaque builds up, problems are sure to follow.
There are three key health benefits of routine dental cleanings:
- Maintenance of oral health
- Prevention of oral diseases
- Early detection of oral diseases and infections
People who don’t get routine dental cleanings are at risk for oral diseases, including dental caries (cavities that require dental fillings) and gum disease (which begins with gingivitis).
There’s also a strong link between oral health and overall body health. Periodontal (gum) disease has been associated with health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and oral cancers are most easily treated when they’re detected early and they haven’t had a chance to spread.
What happens at a dental cleaning
The main goal of a professional dental cleaning is to remove plaque and tartar on your teeth and under the gumline to prevent complications. It’s also an opportunity for your dentist to follow up on any previous complaints or problems.
Before we start the cleaning process, we perform a thorough examination of your mouth, face, and neck areas. This includes taking a health history, social history, and dental history. We also perform an oral cancer screening and examine your teeth and gums, including measuring the space between your gums and teeth, which informs us about the development of gum disease.
We may also take X-rays to look for areas that may be problematic. Then we create a treatment plan to address your specific needs. If we find cavities, we arrange to fill them. If we find evidence of gum disease, we recommend deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing, and evaluate whether you could benefit from periodontal surgery.
During your routine dental cleaning, we remove the soft (plaque) and hard (tartar or calculus) deposits from tooth surfaces by a process called scaling, which your hygienist can perform manually or using a powered (ultrasonic) scaler.
Then, we remove any remaining plaque and stains on your teeth by polishing the teeth with a rotating brush and an abrasive paste. Because the paste can get stuck between teeth, we follow the polishing with flossing. We also can provide a fluoride treatment after your cleaning to help mineralize your teeth and prevent future cavities.
Are you due for a dental cleaning?
Has it been awhile since you’ve had a proper dental cleaning? There’s no time like the present to make sure you have a happy, healthy smile. Call OK Tooth at 212-651-4121, or request an appointment online today.