General dentistry focuses on keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Teeth cleanings are one of the staples of general dentistry, and the American Association of Dentists recommends getting them at least two times per year. The procedure protects teeth against tooth decay and gum disease.
Tooth decay and gum disease are the top two reasons people visit a dentist. Both are caused by plaque and tartar. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars left on teeth surfaces after meals and form a sticky film called plaque. Plaque coats teeth surfaces, and it contains bacteria and the acids they produce. These acids damage teeth structures, causing decay.
Plaque can be removed from teeth by brushing or flossing them, but it hardens into tartar when left on teeth for a few days. Brushing and flossing will not get rid of tartar. A metal tool called a scaler is used to scrape it off during teeth cleanings. The process requires the expertise of a dentist to avoid damaging teeth surfaces or gum tissues while cleaning teeth.
The role of teeth cleaning in preventative dentistry
Teeth cleanings get rid of tartar deposits that build up on teeth, and you want to get them regularly since tartar deposits accumulate on teeth between visits. Like plaque, tartar contains bacteria and the acids they make, and it provides a safe haven brushing cannot eliminate.
Tartar and plaque can make their way into gum pockets, infecting the tissues there. This leads to gum disease, an inflammation of gum tissues caused by the immune system fighting an infection in the gum tissues.
Teeth cleanings are a non-invasive procedure that can be completed in as little as half an hour. There is no need for local anesthetics since the patient does not feel any pain. The patient’s teeth might be cleaned; then, the dentist uses a scaler and ultrasonic tools to break up tartar deposits on their teeth. The deposits are rinsed away, and the patient’s interdental spaces are flossed. The general dentistry dentist then uses an abrasive paste to polish the patient’s teeth. A fluoride treatment might be performed at the end of the treatment to protect against tooth decay.
The benefits of getting teeth cleaned include:
- Removes tartar from teeth surfaces, protecting against tooth decay and gum disease
- It improves the color of the patient’s teeth since tartar makes them look yellow
- It gets rid of most stains on teeth since they tend to form on tartar deposits. Tartar is more prone to staining than tooth enamel
- Allows the dentist to evaluate the patient’s teeth, looking for signs of developing issues like cavities or inflamed gum tissues
Teeth cleanings are an essential part of preventative dentistry
Good oral hygiene protects teeth from tooth decay and gum disease, but it will not stop tartar deposits from building up on teeth. Regular teeth cleanings are needed to get rid of these deposits before they cause problems in the mouth. When was your last cleaning? Give us a call or visit our Woodland Hills clinic to set up an appointment.
Request an appointment or call Southern Cal Smiles: Susan Fredericks, D.D.S, M.P.H. at 818-657-8055 for an appointment in our Woodland Hills office.
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