Keep Your Smile Bright with Dental Checkups & Cleanings
Why do I need to have a dental cleaning?
Regularly scheduled teeth cleanings are very important to maintaining both oral health and overall systemic health. Consistent oral hygiene at home and regular teeth cleanings are the best methods to prevent tooth decay and gum disease from developing and damaging your teeth.
Do I still need a dental cleaning if I brush and floss every day at home?
Yes! Even with meticulous brushing and flossing at home, there are certain areas of our teeth that tend to build up plaque more quickly, and there are also some areas of the teeth that floss and a brush just can’t get to. Only specialized instruments, such as those used by our hygienists, can remove this bacterial build up in those hard to get to areas.
How often should I have a teeth cleaning?
This is a question I get asked often. We generally place patients on recall cycles of 3, 4, and 6 months depending on the following variables:
- Diet: A diet with elevated levels of sugar will require more frequent cleanings. Sugar is the fuel which bacteria feed off of to create plaque. The more sugar you eat, the more bacteria will replicate and thrive.
- Genetics: Yes, there is a genetic component to tooth decay and gum disease. Patients who have a family history of high-risk tooth decay and/or periodontal disease should consider more frequent cleanings.
- A number of dental restorations present: If you have a lot of fillings and crowns, chances are you are at a higher risk for developing tooth decay and should have your teeth cleaned more frequently.
- Healthy history: Patients who have diabetes or are immunocompromised are at a high risk of developing periodontal disease due to their decreased ability to heal.
- Smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for developing gum disease because it is a constrictor of the blood vessels. When blood vessels are constricted, they cannot get the appropriate antibodies to the gums. This basically lowers your body’s ability to protect against the buildup of bacteria, so now you need to have more frequent cleanings in order to manually remove it and prevent the destruction of your gums and jawbone.
- History of periodontal disease: Patients who have had active periodontal disease should definitely have their teeth professionally cleaned frequently. This is because the deep periodontal pockets that have developed as a result of past bone loss are almost impossible to clean at home. You need a professional in order to properly clean these areas.
- Age: Generally, older patients tend to be on more medications that can cause dry mouth (xerostomia), which is a risk factor for both tooth decay and gum disease. To counteract this, more dental cleanings are needed. Older patients may also have reduced mobility, which can hamper the effectiveness of their home oral hygiene techniques.
If you’d like to learn more about how a dental cleaning works, or if you’re ready to schedule your next one, please contact our office today for an appointment.