The Importance of Regular Dental Cleanings
When you visit us here at McLoughlin Dental Care, do you schedule an appointment to see the hygienist? It’s something we strongly recommend for most of our patients. Many people will benefit from twice-yearly dental cleanings while some may need more frequent appointments, for example, if you have any medical issues that could affect your oral health. Your regular dental cleanings form an important part of your preventative dental care plan, and they are an easy and non-invasive way to help ensure your teeth and all the structures supporting them, which include your gums and jawbone remain strong and healthy.
Why is Preventative Dentistry so Critical for a Healthy Smile?
Regular visitors to our dental practice will already know we are passionate about preventative dentistry because it is by far the best and most cost-effective way to maintain good oral health. We’d much rather work with our patients regularly to help them look after their oral health than to see people only occasionally when they may be in discomfort or pain and will require more extensive dental care. Our hygienists collaborate closely with our dentist, Dr. Donald Nimz, helping to ensure you can gain and maintain all the benefits of optimal oral health.
How Can Regular Dental Cleanings Help Maintain Excellent Oral Health?
If you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once-a-day, you may wonder why you need to have your teeth cleaned professionally. The answer is that even the best routine will leave some dental plaque on teeth. Dental plaque is a sticky biofilm that contains bacteria, and which builds up over your tooth surfaces during the day. The bacteria in dental plaque use the sugars in the food you eat as an energy source, allowing them to thrive and multiply. If you fail to clean your teeth thoroughly, dental plaque will remain on your tooth surfaces, but the sticky layer soon hardens into something called calculus or tartar. Unlike plaque, calculus cannot be removed by brushing or flossing your teeth as it must be removed by a dental hygienist using special hand tools to scale or scrape away this hard, crusty substance.
What Happens If Calculus Isn’t Removed Regularly?
If calculus isn’t removed regularly, the bacteria within it will produce toxins which infect and inflame your gums, and you will begin to develop the first signs of gum disease. Gum disease or periodontal disease is very common, and initially, the very first signs are easy to miss. For example, you might notice your gums begin to bleed when you brush or floss, or that they look slightly red or swollen. Some people, when seeing these signs think they have brushed their teeth too hard or have flossed too vigorously. Consequently, they may stop brushing or flossing for a couple of days, which is the very worst thing you can do.
The early signs of gum disease, called gingivitis are easy to treat when caught soon enough, usually by having professionally cleaning your teeth which will remove the calculus, getting rid of the bacteria causing the infection and inflammation. By seeing a hygienist regularly, you can ensure calculus is removed thoroughly, greatly reducing your risk of gum disease. Also, if you do have any signs of gum inflammation, your hygienist will detect them and can discuss how best to restore gum health. Regular dental cleanings can do a lot to help keep your teeth and gums healthy, and here’s what to expect during your appointments.
Your Teeth Are Cleaned Thoroughly
There’s little better than that just been to the dentist feeling of having a super clean mouth that is only achievable when it is cleaned professionally. Your dental hygienist will assess your teeth and gums carefully, removing all calculus and plaque buildup before gently polishing your teeth. They have specialized tools that can get into areas that are often unreachable with a toothbrush, such as tricky to reach areas right in between your teeth. Polishing your teeth gives them a beautiful sparkle, and it helps to remove some minor surface stains. A hygiene treatment is a great way just to freshen up your smile, and it will freshen your breath too.
Your Gum Health Is Assessed
In addition to cleaning your teeth, your hygienist will check your gum health using a special probe that is calibrated to check the depth of pockets or gaps in between your teeth and gums. Usually, the depth of these pockets is minimal and in healthy gums shouldn’t be any greater than 3 mm. If the pocket depth is greater, it can indicate a problem with your gum health and especially if accompanied by any bleeding. At every cleaning, your hygienist will check the depth of these pockets around each tooth, making a note of the measurements, so any changes are immediately obvious from one visit to the next.
Get In-Depth Help and Practical Advice on How to Improve Your Oral Care Routine
Have you ever wondered if you are brushing your teeth correctly? Perhaps you’d like a little help with your flossing techniques? Why not ask our hygienist at your next visit? We all thoroughly enjoy patient education and love nothing more than helping someone improve their oral care routine. Most people learn to brush their teeth as children and never think twice about this vital routine, but it’s easy to slip into bad habits and to neglect some areas of your mouth perhaps.
After cleaning your teeth professionally, the hygienist can identify areas that could perhaps do with a little help and more attention. They can show you the correct brushing techniques and offer advice on which toothbrush to choose and even which type of toothpaste. We know lots of people struggle with flossing, but once you know how it’s really very simple and will only take a few minutes each day. Let us show you how to do it, or we can show you other tools to try. For example, you might find it easier to use soft picks or interdental brushes, or perhaps a water pik. The trick is to find something that suits you and to make sure daily flossing becomes a habit.