Routine dental cleaning appointments are an important part of maintaining optimal oral health and keeping treatment costs low. Dr. Fotinos helps patients in and around Orange County, CA, ward off decay and gum disease with routine dental cleaning treatments aimed at eliminating harmful bacteria, plaque and tartar.
Hand Scaling and Polishing
Deep Scaling and Root Planing
How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?
Ideally, both adults and kids should have their teeth professionally cleaned every six months to help prevent gum disease, remove stains and make sure brushing and flossing techniques are keeping bacteria, plaque, and tartar at bay. Routine cleanings also provide the dentist with an opportunity to look for early signs of decay so cavities can be addressed while they’re still small and relatively easy to treat. Plus, it ensures oral cancer screenings are performed on a regular basis. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays.
What Happens During a Routine Dental Cleaning?
First, the teeth and gums will be visually evaluated, then special tools and mild dental abrasives will be used to clean carefully around every tooth, including the areas between teeth and along the gum line where bacteria and plaque can hide. In addition to removing plaque and tartar, the abrasives will help remove some of the stains that can make teeth look dingy. During the cleaning, the hygienist will be looking for areas where brushing and flossing aren’t removing plaque and bacteria. At the end of the appointment, the hygienist will be able to provide helpful tips and guidance to improve brushing and flossing in these areas, so teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible between office visits. If moderate to severe gum disease is present, an action plan can be developed to battle the disease and help prevent tooth loss. Once the cleaning is complete, dental x-rays may also be taken so the dentist can evaluate the entire structure of each tooth, including the roots.
Sometimes, a dentist would recommend a different dental procedure before or instead of veneers. For instance, whitening might be a better choice for minor discoloration, and orthodontic methods could improve gaps and crooked teeth. Crowns are a similar option to porcelains, but they cover the entire tooth and are often preferable when there is a great deal of decay, or a lot of the tooth is missing from another cause.
Can Dental Cleanings Prevent Gum Disease?
Yes, routine dental cleanings are one of the best ways to prevent gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in California and throughout the U.S. Cleanings remove sticky plaque and hard tartar that harbor the bacteria responsible for gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria that live naturally in your mouth, but if your mouth isn’t kept clean, this bacteria can build into larger populations. Their resulting waste, states the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), becomes a sticky white substance called dental plaque, which can then harden into a yellow mineralized substance called tartar, or calculus. The best way to prevent gum disease is to remove this bacterial residue before it hardens to a point where you can’t remove it on your own.