Most people should be getting dental cleanings done every 6 months. Some folks need a dental cleaning every 3 months, while a very rare and fortunate few will only need cleanings once a year. Even the dental hygienists who perform the cleanings (and know how to clean their teeth better than anyone) have professional cleanings done once or twice a year.
Why are these dental cleanings so important? What are hygienists doing when they clean your teeth? We’re going to answer these questions and more in this lean, clean, post.
What’s the Point of Dental Cleanings?
Dental cleanings help rid your mouth of tartar (which is called calculus by most dental professionals). Tartar is basically layers of dense, hardened plaque. It’s too hard and tough to remove by brushing – but your dental hygienist has the tools to get tartar off your teeth.
Why are we removing tartar in the first place? In short, it’s because tartar can increase your risk of cavities, gum inflammation and infection, and plenty of other oral health problems. Tartar is full of bacteria – it gives bacteria an excellent place to hide; it can’t be brushed away. The hard substance can also irritate your gums, inflaming them, and giving bacteria an entryway deeper into your gums.
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?
During the first part of the dental cleaning, the hygienist will examine your mouth to see how much tartar build-up there is, and what needs to be cleaned. If your gums are particularly sensitive, they may recommend freezing in order to make the procedure more effective – and more comfortable!
Once the initial examination is finished, the hygienist will begin a process known as scaling. They’ll use a variety of tools to remove tartar and plaque, including metal dental scalers and ultrasonic scalers. Hygienists need to remove build-up from underneath your gums, as well as from between your teeth, so the process can take some time.
If your gums are particularly inflamed, there may be bleeding. Don’t worry! That’s completely normal, though it is a sign you may need to get dental cleanings more regularly.
Now that all the tartar has been removed from your mouth, it’s time to clean up. Your hygienist will use an abrasive toothpaste to get rid of any tartar left behind by the scaling process. They’ll also floss between all of your teeth to get rid of any residue. From there, they’ll rinse out your mouth to wash everything away.
Finally, your hygienist will apply a fluoride treatment to protect your teeth from cavities. And with that, your cleaning is done! Your dentist may come by once the treatment is complete to perform a check-up if the hygienist has noticed anything abnormal, or if it’s been a long time since your last check-up.
Call UDental for a Cleaning Today!
Has it been a while since your last cleaning? Give us a call. We offer dental services for U of A students – right here on campus! Improve your oral health and the look of your smile – call us for a dental cleaning today.