FAQs About Dental Cleaning

Posted on: 2 January 2020

If it has been a while since your last dental cleaning and you don't notice any tooth sensitivity or pain, you may be wondering if it's really necessary to go in for regular cleanings. Here are some FAQs about dental cleaning and why it's so important.

What Do They Check at Dental Cleanings?

Dental cleanings are important because they are preventative treatment. The goal of the cleanings is to catch problems before they turn into problems that might require restorations, like crowns, or prostheses, like dentures.

During the cleaning, your hygienist will remove tartar that could be contributing to the development of cavities or the development of periodontal disease. During cleanings, your hygienist will also keep an eye out for any tissue abnormalities that could indicate tumors or oral cancers.

Are Cleanings Really Necessary If You Brush and Floss Well?

Plaque is a sticky biofilm of oral bacteria that can damage your enamel and your gum tissue. It's true that if you brush and floss really well, you'll be able to remove quite a lot of it.

While you can remove a lot of plaque, it's impossible to remove all of it—especially since plaque can develop while you are sleeping. If plaque deposits aren't removed, they turn into hardened tartar. While plaque can be removed at home, tartar cannot. Colgate says that only dentists and hygienists can safely remove hardened tartar since they have the right tools.

Why Can't You Just Clean the Tartar Yourself?

Even if you purchased dental instruments to clean tartar yourself, this is incredibly dangerous. Dentists and hygienists go through years of schooling; they know how to safely remove tartar without damaging gum tissues and enamel. A lot of over-the-counter DIY plaque scrapers are sharp, and they can be dangerous to use around gum tissue since they may pierce the tissue. Plus, these products aren't sterilized like in-office instruments, so you could be spreading germs.

How Often Do You Need a Dental Cleaning?

There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to dental cleanings. How often you need cleanings will come down to your current oral health and hygiene habits. For instance, if you are in pretty good health and aren't at risk for gum disease, your dentist may only have you come in once a year for a cleaning. If you are more prone to cavities, then he or she may recommend coming in every six months. And if you have gingivitis or gum disease, you may need more frequent cleanings along with deeper cleanings at a periodontist's office. It's important to consult with a dentist in your area to see how frequently you need to come in for preventative cleanings.

What Kind of Dental Cleaning Do You Need—Ultrasonic or Manual Scaling?

You may notice that some dental offices use ultrasonic scalers—similar to water picks—during their cleanings, while some offices use metal instruments to manually scrape tartar off the enamel. Both tools have their pros and cons.

For instance, manual scaling may take longer to complete than ultrasonic scaling. Some ultrasonic scalers aren't recommended for people with pacemakers, and they may require more protective equipment since they can produce a fine mist. Ultrasonic scalers may be preferable for periodontal work since they are easier to work with in deep gum pockets, while manual scalers may be preferable for sensitive teeth since they don't vibrate and are easier to handle.

Your dental office may use one method or a combination of the two. The good news is that whatever instruments they use, both tools do an effective job at cleaning your teeth. Your hygienist may choose an instrument based simply on his or her preference.

If you have gum disease, then your dentist may refer you to a periodontist who will have specialized instruments for a deeper cleaning.

Contact a dental office like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock in your area today for more information on dental cleanings.