Dental Cleaning & Consultation
A healthy mouth is an important part of overall wellness. Keeping your teeth white and clean requires a regular routine of cleaning both at home and via a professional dental care provider. During your next dental cleaning and consultation visit, you can expect an examination of the health of your teeth, gums and the soft tissues in your mouth, as well as a thorough cleaning.
The manner in which you clean your teeth determines their preservation and protection from decay and other oral health conditions. At home, every surface of your teeth, gums and tongue should be brushed with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice daily. It is also important to floss once per day to loosen plaque and debris that becomes lodged in the crevices of the teeth.
You should make an appointment for a professional dental cleaning once every six months. At that time, a hygienist will inspect the gums for periodontal disease, which is the primary cause of tooth loss in America. The hygienist will use a tool to gently scrape away hardened plaque on the teeth that is not removable using traditional brushing techniques. This plaque is responsible for harboring bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Regular professional cleanings also help remove topical stains from beverages like coffee and tea. Furthermore, the small cost of preventative care tends to save patients money on future dental restoration and treatment costs.
Types of Cleaning
The type and frequency of procedure you need depends on your dentist's diagnosis:
- Prophylaxis: Patients diagnosed with a healthy mouth condition receive a prophylaxis or healthy mouth cleaning — the kind that most insurance companies cover. This procedure removes plaque on the teeth and at the gum line.
- Full Mouth Debridement: Patients diagnosed with gingivitis, a reversible form of periodontal disease, typically require a full mouth debridement to remove build-up on the teeth so a full assessment can be conducted. Afterward, many patients return to a healthy mouth condition.
- Scaling and Root Planing (SRP): Patients diagnosed with active periodontal disease cannot benefit from a healthy mouth cleaning because they require treatment above and below the gum line. These patients generally receive SRP, a non-surgical treatment that removes build-up, smooths out exposed root surfaces and may include the application of localized antibiotics and fluoride as well. SRP often takes several visits to complete and ongoing periodontal maintenance is prescribed at regular intervals afterward.
Your dental cleaning may be followed up with a brief consultation from your dentist. Depending on how much time has passed since your last dental visit, your dentist may request x-rays of your teeth and jaw to detect underlying conditions. The dentist may review your x-rays and the surfaces of the teeth for caries, decay and possible complications. If problems are found, he or she will discuss options for treatment, as well as ways you may be able to prevent additional problems in the future.