Dental cleanings are a part of a good oral healthcare routine, along with daily brushing and flossing. Plaque accumulates on the teeth surfaces over time – even with regular cleaning – and must be professionally removed at the dentist office to prevent problems such as cavities and gum disease. When you keep an appointment for a dental cleaning, a consultation will also take place to evaluate your overall oral health.
Dental cleanings are usually performed by a hygienist. First, plaque and tartar buildup is removed from the surface of the teeth using dental tools. The teeth are then brushed with a specialized toothbrush and toothpaste. This toothpaste has a grittier texture than regular toothpastes, which cleans and polishes the teeth. The last step in a cleaning is professional flossing.
Many people believe that they can go years without visiting the dentist and not have that affect their oral health. The fact is, oral diseases do not usually show any symptoms as diseases in other parts of the body do. That means that you might think that your teeth are in healthy working order until you notice anything wrong, at which point the issue will be so advanced that treatment will be more complicated – not to mention more expensive – than it otherwise would have been. That is why dental exams/consultations are so important – they give your dentist a chance to examine your mouth to detect signs of oral diseases while they are still in their early stages.
During dental exams, the dentist will thoroughly check the teeth and gums for signs of decay or infection. Digital x-rays are usually also taken (once a year) to examine below the surface of the teeth. An oral cancer screening can also be performed, where, in addition to the tissues of the mouth, the facial muscles will also be examined. Following the dental cleaning, the dentist will come in to discuss any issues that may have been detected during the exam. If necessary, he or she can prescribe treatment options.
The consultation can also include instruction on good oral hygiene habits, such as how to brush and floss properly. If you have any questions about your oral health, a consultation is the perfect time to ask.