Proper oral hygiene at home, such as regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, is only part of ensuring your teeth are clean and healthy. A healthy smile also requires regular visits to a dentist or dental hygienist for professional teeth cleaning. These visits usually occur twice a year and give your dentist the opportunity to assess your overall oral health. This often includes removing any built-up bacteria, plaque, and tartar from your teeth as well as checking for any signs of potential health concerns.
Professional teeth cleaning is one of our most common appointments at Monarch Dental, and our dentists and dental hygienists are here to help you incorporate this important service into your oral healthcare routine. To schedule an appointment or learn more about professional teeth cleaning, call Monarch Dental today!
Professional teeth cleaning can provide benefits that home oral care alone cannot, which is a primary reason professional teeth cleaning is suggested at least every six months. Two advantages of professional teeth cleaning include removing tartar and looking for symptoms that suggest more significant health concerns.
Bacteria and food particles accumulate on teeth, which can create a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque can usually be removed with regular brushing. However, if it isn’t removed properly and relatively quickly (within 2-3 days), plaque can turn into tartar. Tartar is much harder to clean than plaque and needs to be removed safely through professional cleaning. Although tartar is normally more yellow in color, it can appear colorless and can be hard to detect. Tartar can lead to cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, or other oral health concerns if it is not removed.
An additional benefit of professional teeth cleaning is that the dentist gets the chance to look for signs or symptoms that might be associated with other health concerns. Some of those concerns may be related to your oral health, such as gum disease or decaying teeth. Other health concerns have symptoms that can be detected orally, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some cancers. Professional cleanings can help dentists discover some of these concerns, allowing patients to address them quickly and potentially prevent them.
Consultation and/or oral examination: The dentist or dental hygienist will likely ask you a few questions about your oral health, including any problems you may be currently experiencing. During this stage, the dentist or dental hygienist will also conduct an oral examination by using a small mirror and flashlight to look inside your mouth. Depending on the situation, the dentist or dental hygienist may also take x-rays of your mouth and review them with you during this time.
Teeth cleaning: During this step of a professional teeth cleaning, the dentist or dental hygienist will remove any built-up plaque and tartar. This is usually done gently with a tool called a scaler that has a small hook on the end, allowing the hygienist to softly scrape away any build-up that has accumulated near the gumline. After any buildup has been removed, an electric toothbrush with specific toothpaste will be used to clear the debris from the teeth and polish them. The dentist or dental hygienist will then clean between your teeth by flossing between each tooth, and finish up by having you rinse away any remaining debris.
Tooth treatments (Fluoride): To help maintain the health and strength of your teeth, your dentist or dental hygienist may apply fluoride to your cleaned teeth. Fluoride is a mineral found in nature that is used in various forms to help strengthen the outer layer of the teeth and can help prevent cavities. Fluoride may be applied in different formats, so it’s important to listen to your dentist or dental hygienist on proper care and how long to wait before you can eat or drink after the treatment.
Discussion: At the conclusion of your appointment, the dentist will discuss any findings, such as any cavities or other concerns, go over areas to focus on during your at-home oral care routine, make recommendations for any future treatment, and address any of your questions and concerns.
During the 6 months between professional cleanings, it’s important to make sure that you have a good at-home oral care routine. Thorough oral hygiene not only helps keep your smile in the best shape possible, but it can also reduce concerns that may arise during professional cleaning.
At Monarch Dental, we’ll help you get the most out of your professional teeth cleaning. Dental cleanings are typically covered under most insurance plans as preventative care, and we accept almost all major plans. Don’t have dental insurance? Don’t worry–you may qualify for discounted dental services, including dental cleanings, with our OneSmile Dental plan.
Let Monarch Dental help you get–and keep–a beautiful healthy smile. Find a Monarch location near you to discuss financing options or schedule an appointment for a professional cleaning.