One important aspect of positive oral care is professional teeth cleaning, as the process removes plaque that causes tartar buildup. Over time, such buildup may result in gum inflammation and infection. Visiting a dental clinic for a cleaning at least twice a year can protect oral health, and there are a few questions patients can ask their dentist to get the most out of the experience.
Things to know about a dental cleaning
Daily brushing and flossing can help keep teeth clean and prevent cavities that can lead to serious tooth decay. While taking these steps at home are important aspects of oral care, only a dentist and dental hygienists can offer the kind of cleaning that removes buildup.
Those who visit for teeth cleaning and have no previous issues that need attending to can expect a hygienist to blast away plaque with a water drill, a scaler, and a dental pick before rinsing the mouth with a cleansing wash to rid it of any remaining bacteria. Depending on the length and depth of the cleaning, the dentist may numb a patient's gums to reduce discomfort. These cleanings also give patients the opportunity to ask several questions before and after the procedure to support greater oral health
Will cleaning whiten my teeth?
Inconsistent brushing and certain foods and beverages, such as wine, fruits like blueberries, and acidic sauces can stain the teeth and cause discoloration. A general cleaning can wash away some of these stains but may not offer the kinds of results that can occur with whitening products a dentist can offer. Those who want a brighter smile can ask a dentist about the options available.
How long does the process take?
The length of a teeth cleaning depends on several factors. If the teeth need a deep cleaning and a patient has inflamed gums that bleed a great deal during the process, the clinic may divide the cleaning into several appointments for the comfort of the patient. While every cleaning is different, several details may affect how long it takes, including:
The condition of a patient's teeth and gums
The presence of infection, such as gingivitis
The patient's tolerance levels
It is important for patients to inquire about the estimated length of the appointment so it does not interfere with other activities.
Is my at-home oral care effective?
A dentist and the hygienists who clean teeth can let patients know when one or more aspects of their at-home oral care plan are not working as well as they could be. For example, individuals may not be brushing long enough or using a brush with bristles that are too hard and causing damage to tooth enamel. Patients can improve habits at home by using a timer, floss, and brush recommended by a dentist to get the most out of daily oral care.
Patients who have questions about teeth cleanings may want to make a list of questions for their dentist to remain as informed as possible. Effective cleanings, along with daily at-home care, can help ensure a healthy mouth for a lifetime of smiles.
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