Popular misinformation spreads the myth that dental cleanings may harm tooth enamel. Dental cleanings are safe procedures that do not damage teeth. However, poor oral health habits and acid wear are to blame for many enamel issues.
The Dental Cleaning Process
A dental cleaning is also known as oral prophylaxis. It is a vital preventive procedure that removes plaque, tartar, food particles, and surface stains.
Step 1: Comprehensive Oral Exam
The first step is a thorough examination of your mouth, head, and neck. The dentist or hygienist checks for abnormalities that could indicate oral cancer or other problems.
Step 2: X-Rays
Dentists usually order digital X-rays once a year. X-rays can detect hidden problems like decay, cracked teeth, and abscesses.
Step 3: Scaling
Scaling removes tartar (calculus) from your teeth. We use a water-cooled ultrasonic device to loosen tartar. This instrument makes scaling more comfortable and more effective.
Step 4: Cleaning and Polishing
Next, the hygienist cleans the teeth using gentle instruments and polishes your teeth to a beautiful shine. This step uses professional toothpaste that is slightly more abrasive than over-the-counter preparations but does not harm enamel.
Step 5: Flossing
The hygienist will floss your teeth and let you know whether you need to work on oral care at home.
Step 6: Rinsing
A thorough rinse follows flossing.
Step 7: Fluoride Treatments
Children and teens receive fluoride treatments, and adults may also receive them. Fluoride helps to harden enamel and prevent tooth decay.
Why Receive Regular Cleanings?
Dentists recommend that most patients from infancy through adulthood receive dental cleanings twice yearly. If you already have signs of gum disease, the dentist may want to clean and scale your teeth more frequently.
Dental cleanings are a vital contributor to oral health:
- Prevent and treat gum disease, which can cause tooth loss
- Detect early stages of tooth decay using X-rays
- Detect oral cancer and other abnormalities at earlier stages when they are easier to treat
What if My Gums Bleed During a Dental Cleaning?
If your gums bleed during a dental cleaning, you must step up your oral care routine at home. Ensure that you brush and floss as recommended. You may need treatment for gum disease if the condition persists.
Oral care habits should start at a very early age. Today, dentists recommend that infants receive dental cleanings and exams as soon as their first teeth have erupted. These first cleanings help children become accustomed to the procedure and reduce dental anxiety later in life.
Debunking the Myths
Dental cleanings have no real risks but many benefits. Always ensure that you search for dental information from safe,reliable sources.
Call Smiles on the Upper Westside
If you have questions about dental cleanings or need to make an appointment, please call or text our Manhattan office at 212-222-5225. We would be glad to help you understand the benefits of regular dental cleanings.