Brushing and flossing is talked about a lot as necessary habits to keep your teeth…
If keeping your smile bright and healthy is a priority to you, you probably already brush and floss your teeth well. So if you take good care of your teeth at home, do you still need a professional cleaning? Here’s why dental cleanings are important and who needs them.
What is a Professional Dental Cleaning?
You may already know that it’s important to get regular exams by your dentist, but it’s also important to get regular cleanings by a dental hygienist, too. A dental hygienist works with your dentist as part of your dental care team and is specially trained in cleaning teeth and gums.
A professional cleaning is different from simply brushing and flossing your teeth because a dental hygienist has special tools that can clean your teeth and gums more thoroughly as well as reach difficult areas that you may not be able to effectively clean at home.
That’s why dental cleanings are important, because while a home care regimen is of primary importance to your dental health, there may still be areas that get missed or tartar and stains that build up requiring a little extra help once in a while.
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?
Typically, before you have a professional dental cleaning, you’ll see your dentist for a thorough exam including x-rays, if needed. Your dental hygienist will usually perform the cleaning at the same appointment.
The dental hygienist may use special tools to gently scrape away any hard tartar buildup or stains on your teeth and along your gum line, focusing special attention on difficult to reach areas where plaque can tend to escape the reach of brushing or flossing. They may also use a pressurized water tool to clean along the gum line if there is excessive buildup or to be extra gentle to tender areas of your gums.
After cleaning your teeth, they will invite you to pick a flavor of polish and gently polish your teeth, to leave you with that extra smooth, clean feeling. You may notice that your smile looks whiter after a professional cleaning simply because your teeth are extra clean!
When Do I Need a Cleaning?
Now that you know why dental cleanings are important, you’re probably wondering how to know when you need one. Dentists typically recommend a professional dental cleaning every 6 months for healthy patients with a good home care regimen, but may recommend cleanings more often, such as every 3-4 months, if you are experiencing gum disease or other health conditions that may put your dental health at an increased risk. It’s important to see your dentist for an exam so that they can assess your dental health and recommend a dental cleaning schedule that is accurately suited to your needs.
Call our Jacksonville Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.