Hopefully, the answer is within the last six months. If it is longer, then it’s worth asking yourself why you’ve avoided having such a simple and effective preventative dental care treatment. Usually, most dentists recommend people have their teeth cleaned professionally by a hygienist every six months or possibly even more frequently depending on their dental health and medical health. It is an essential preventative dental treatment that will help to keep your teeth and gums in great shape, along with your regular six-monthly check-ups.
What to Expect during Your Regular Dental Cleanings
The primary purpose of having your teeth cleaned professionally is to remove any plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque builds up over your tooth surfaces every day and is a sticky biofilm containing bacteria. If you have reasonably good oral hygiene, then most plaque is removed through twice-daily tooth brushing and by flossing your teeth once a day. However, any that remains on your teeth will quickly harden into tartar (calculus), which is an extremely hard substance that must be scraped away from your teeth during a professional dental cleaning. Calculus is extremely bad for your dental health because it makes it easier for more plaque to stick to your teeth, and the bacteria in calculus will continually inflame and infect your gums, causing a condition called periodontal disease (gum disease).
Initially, your hygienist will want to gently examine your teeth to assess your general dental health before using specialized tools to scrape away any calculus carefully. Usually, calculus tends to build up at the junction where your teeth meet your gums, and if the buildup is quite bad, then it may even be visible as a yellowish crusty layer. Calculus also tends to build up in between your teeth and especially if you don’t floss regularly. Once all the calculus is removed, your teeth are polished using a special polishing paste. Polishing your teeth creates a smoother surface that makes it harder for plaque bacteria to adhere to your teeth, and a nice side-effect is that it can remove some surface stains. Finally, your hygienist will floss in between your teeth to ensure all calculus is properly removed.
Get Some Great Advice about Your Oral Hygiene
One thing people might not realize when they see the hygienist, is that they can offer them great advice about their oral hygiene routine at home. By examining your teeth and assessing areas where plaque and calculus have built up, your hygienist can offer customized advice on how to improve your brushing and flossing routine. They can identify any problem areas in your mouth and will show you how to brush and floss more thoroughly. Most people brush their teeth without thinking about what they are doing, and as a result, may miss out on certain areas time and time again. Often it can be surprisingly useful just to refresh your knowledge on how to brush your teeth properly.
Flossing and Why It’s so Important
Flossing is something many people fail to do regularly, when in fact you should be flossing once a day. It is an essential part of your oral hygiene routine because your toothbrush cannot reach in between your teeth. All the plaque and food that build up in between your teeth will increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Often the very first signs of gum disease begin at the junction in between your teeth. Regularly flossing in between your teeth removes plaque and food debris before it can harm your teeth and gums, and the very act of flossing helps to stimulate your gum tissue, ensuring it receives good blood flow and remains strong and healthy. If you don’t floss regularly, then it’s worth asking your hygienist for a proper demonstration on how to do it correctly. They will be delighted to show you!
Alternatively, if you know you’re not going to use dental floss then ask about other ways to clean in between your teeth. There are several alternatives that are quick and easy to use, and they are highly effective. Your options include interdental brushes which are a bit like tiny toothbrushes but are shaped like small Christmas trees. They come in a variety of different sizes and will fit in between your teeth so you can brush away plaque and food. Another option is to purchase a water pik which uses pressurized water to squirt away plaque and debris. It’s an excellent option for anybody who doesn’t have too much dexterity, and it’s extremely quick and easy to use.
Who Should See a Hygienist More Frequently?
When you first see a dentist, then they will carefully assess your dental health and your medical health, using this information to determine how often you should have checkups and dental cleanings. Some people may benefit from more frequent dental cleanings if they have dental problems that require closer monitoring, for example, active gum disease, or if they have medical problems that increase the likelihood of developing gum disease. People who fall into this category may benefit from having their teeth cleaned every three or four months. If your dentist in Brooklyn does suggest more frequent cleanings, it’s worth keeping up with this regime because it will protect your dental health. Ultimately, it will be much more cost-effective than potentially developing dental problems that require hours in the dental chair.
What Happens If You Already Have Gum Disease?
If you already have gum disease, then you will need more frequent cleanings, or your dentist may even suggest that you have your teeth deep cleaned regularly. It is a treatment that is similar to a routine hygiene appointment, but which also cleans any exposed tooth roots. When you have more advanced gum disease causes the gums to recede which exposes your tooth roots and creates deep pockets in between your teeth and gums. These pockets can be hard to clean with a toothbrush and can easily harbor disease-causing bacteria. A deep cleaning treatment helps to remove more bacteria from these pockets, making it easier for your gums to fight infection. Sometimes it is a treatment that is combined with laser dentistry, making it even more effective.