Although you may faithfully brush and floss daily, there are times when you'll need a professional cleaning. However, there are several types of dental cleanings dentists do, and the one you need depends on your oral health and goals. Here's what you need to know about these different cleanings to help you decide which one is best for you.
The dental cleaning most people are familiar with is the one dentists recommend patients get every six months. This dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque and cleaning the areas patients often miss during their daily routines, such as hard-to-reach areas like the back molars.
Commonly called prophylactic cleanings, the purpose of this procedure is to prevent future problems from cropping up. Periodically removing built-up plaque and leftover debris reduces the risk of developing oral health problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Additionally, since plaque can discolor teeth, regular deep cleanings can help keep your teeth looking white, saving you money on whitening treatments.
General dental cleaning is best for people with healthy teeth and gums, but everyone can benefit from it. While dentists say it's best to have one done every six months, how frequently you will need it depends on your oral health. It's best to contact your family dentist to see what he or she recommends.
Despite their best intentions, sometimes patients don't see the dentist as often as they should. In fact, it's not unusual for people to wait years to make an appointment. If it's been years since your last appointment, the dentist may recommend you undergo a heavy-duty cleaning procedure.
Also known as gross debridement, this type of cleaning is designed to remove the large amounts of tartar, which is a built-up plaque that been allowed to harden. Tarter is significantly more difficult to remove than plaque, and the dentist will typically use a special tool to essentially sand it off your teeth. Once enough tartar and plaque have been removed, the dentist will perform a regular prophylactic cleaning to finish up.
If it's been a while since you last saw the dentist, then it's best to skip the regular cleaning and opt for gross debridement. You may also want to undergo this treatment if you regularly smoke because nicotine reduces saliva production, leading to an increase in tartar buildup.
For people suffering from oral health problems, such as periodontitis, a deeper cleaning is usually required as part of the treatment for the issue. For instance, people affected by advanced gingivitis may need to undergo regular periodontal maintenance cleanings where the dentist removes tartar from the pockets of the gums and the teeth until the infection resolves.
Another common type of special treatment is scaling and root planing which—in addition to scraping tartar from the gums and teeth—involves gently sanding tooth roots to make the surface smooth enough for the gums to reattach to. This prevents gum pockets from forming and creating a haven for oral bacteria to settle and thrive.
Sometimes special cleanings can be performed in one appointment. More often than not, though, the treatment must be spread out over several sittings. Additionally, some treatments may require local anesthetics and antibiotics, depending on how bad the situation is and the amount of work that needs to be performed.
A dentist will let you know which treatments are suitable for your particular oral health concerns and what options are available to you. Thus, even if it's been years since your last appointment, it's a good idea to meet with a dentist to get an idea of where you stand and create a plan for improving and protecting your oral health. Contact a local dental clinic like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock at your earliest convenience.