Dental Cleanings And Why You Need Them
Dental cleanings are typically done by your hygienist. Dentists recommend getting a cleaning every six months, though many people let time slip by between cleanings without being aware of the potential consequences.
Types Of Dental Cleanings
All dental cleanings have the same overall goal – to clean the teeth – but are performed differently and have specific aims.
Prophylaxis is the routine cleaning most of us are familiar with. During prophylaxis, plaque, calculus, and surface level staining is removed. Regular prophylaxis cleanings won’t repair damaged teeth, but can help prevent damage from occurring in the first place by maintaining oral health. A prophylaxis cleaning is usually performed by a qualified dental hygienist.
- Scaling And Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a deeper cleaning. Scaling and root planing is typically done for patients who are at greater risk of developing gum disease or have gum disease present already. When a lot of plaque builds up without being properly cleaned off, it can become tartar or calculus. As a result, many patients begin to suffer from gum disease, the signs of which can include bleeding gums, swollen gums, and loose teeth. During scaling and root planing, the tartar and calculus is scraped from the teeth as well as above and below the gumline by a professional hygienist.
- Periodontal Maintenance
Periodontal maintenance is a deep cleaning that is usually performed every four to six months when oral health problems have been identified. As with prophylaxis and scaling and root planing, the plaque, tartar, calculus, and staining is removed from the teeth and above and below the gumline by a qualified hygienist. Next, your hygienist will do a thorough exam of the pockets of the gums, looking for inflammation. The areas are flushed with antiseptic to get rid of any infection and control inflammation.
- Gross Debridement
Unlike prophylaxis, scaling and root planing, and periodontal maintenance, gross debridement is usually performed by a dentist rather than a hygienist. Gross debridement usually seeks out any problems that were not detected before the cleaning, usually when regular cleanings haven’t been performed for longer than recommended allowing a lot of hardened plaque to build up on the teeth. The dentist will need to work thoroughly and carefully to remove all of the build up on the teeth and gums.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Get Dental Cleanings
It can seem a bit much to fit dental cleanings in every six months, but skipping your regular cleanings can lead to serious health complications. Though everything may seem to be fine and healthy on the surface, you could have unseen complications that would be identified early with regular dental cleanings.
Cavities are often caused by an excess buildup of plaque not being cleaned away. Regular dental cleanings will prevent cavities, but will also help spot any the may have formed early on before they have had the chance to cause pain or other complications.
- Gum Disease
Many people never even think about their gums or gum health until they start to experience pain, swelling, or bleeding. Unfortunately, gum disease can be present even when your gums feel completely fine, and would only be picked up by a professional dentist or hygienist during a cleaning. Gum disease can easily lead to periodontal disease if left untreated, early detection of gum disease can save you a lot of serious complications down the line.
- Plaque Build Up
Brushing and flossing, even when done regularly and religiously, can only do so much when it comes to cleaning your teeth. Plaque still builds up, especially in difficult to reach areas or spots that you subconsciously don’t pay attention to. Plaque buildup turns to calculus and tartar when not removed, both of which can only be removed by specialized tools by a dentist or hygienist during your dental cleanings.
- Bad Breath
There can be many causes of bad breath, but it can often be prevented if you keep up with regular cleanings. The most common causes of bad smelling breath include bacteria, plaque, and tartar building up in the mouth. Bad breath can be off putting to those around you and cause your self confidence to take a knock. Bad breath can also be an early sign of periodontal disease, so it should not be taken lightly or simply masked with breath fresheners.
- Loss Of Teeth
Gum disease, serious cavities and the other complications that occur with plaque, tartar, and calculus buildup can lead to tooth decay periodontal disease, and eventual tooth loss. Adult tooth loss can be embarrassing, but can also lead to further complications such as tooth migration, speech problems, difficulty eating, and damage to the jawbone. Not to mention the expense of tooth replacement procedures such as dentures or dental implants that will be necessary in order to keep living a normal life.
- Risk Of Oral Cancer
Every time you visit your dentist or dental hygienist for a cleaning, they do a thorough exam too. During this exam, they will perform a thorough screening for oral cancer. Early stages of oral cancer can be easy to miss yourself, and early detection is often crucial when it comes to cancer, so putting off going for a dental cleaning can have disastrous consequences.
- Abscess And Infection
Long periods of time between dental cleanings can allow simple cuts, scratches, or cavities to form into abscesses and infections. These can easily go unnoticed in their early stages, especially when you’re not looking for signs of them. Abscesses and infections can sometimes only be detected during an x-ray during your checkup and can go on to spread to other parts of your mouth. When the infection sets in, it can cause pain and lead to further health concerns that will require further (often expensive) courses of treatment including dental procedures and antibiotics.
- Risk Of Overall Health
Many people are under the impression that skipping dental cleanings will have consequences that are localized to only the mouth. This simply is not so. Skipping dental cleanings has been linked to serious further health concerns throughout the entire body. These serious health complications can include missing early detection of oral cancer, hypertension, diabetes, kidney failure, and heart disease, meaning that you will miss your window for early treatment options before the issue becomes severe.
The Importance Of Dental Cleanings
Making a point of keeping up with regular dental cleanings has many benefits. Firstly, they keep your teeth looking good aesthetically by removing staining and buildup. Regular brushing and flossing is essential for good oral health, but some types of buildup can only be removed by specialized dental tools. Going for regular dental cleanings typically reduces your risk of health complications, reducing your overall cost of healthcare.
Visit The Dental Lounge For Professional Hygienist Services And Dental Care
At The Dental Lounge, each member of our team is professional and empathetic, offering a dental experience that is stress free. Our hygienist is qualified and well trained, the top choice for your dental cleanings and keeping your teeth in good shape.
To get in touch with an industry-leader in dentistry, contact The Dental Lounge today. You are welcome to give us a call at (954) 686 5729 or fill out our convenient online form.