Maintaining your dental and oral health should be a coordinated effort between yourself and your dentist. Although you can do your part by staying on top of good oral hygiene habits, to keep your teeth in the best condition possible for as long as possible, you also need to schedule professional dental cleanings.
Keep reading if you’re not sure how often you should do so. The following guide will answer your questions.
The Benefits of Professional Dental Cleanings
Brushing and flossing every day is important. However, staying on top of these tasks isn’t enough to truly optimize your dental and oral health. A professional cleaning at the hands of a dentist offers such benefits as:
- Early detection: Seeing your dentist on a routine basis can actually save you quite a bit of money (while also potentially guarding against discomfort) in the long run. During a cleaning, a dentist can check your teeth for early signs of oral health issues, addressing them before they develop into more significant conditions.
- Thorough cleaning: Dentists use specialized tools and techniques that you simply don’t have access to in your own home. Thus, they can help clean your teeth and other oral tissues far more thoroughly than you could yourself.
- Education: A dental cleaning gives you the chance to speak with a professional about your oral health. Take this opportunity to ask the dentist any questions you may have about dental hygiene, cavity prevention, and more.
What Does a Professional Dental Cleaning Involve?
Although the specifics of the dental cleaning process can sometimes vary depending on the needs of a patient, typically, the process involves these steps:
- Examination: Using small mirrors, the dentist or dental hygienist will check your teeth for signs of conditions that may require attention.
- Scaling: Next, the dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar by scraping it away with a small instrument called a scaler.
- Brushing: Professional dental cleanings usually conclude with brushing of a patient’s teeth. Dentists and dental hygienists use special “gritty” toothpastes that scrub and polish teeth more effectively than typical over-the-counter toothpastes.
Your dentist may also offer deep cleaning. They’ll explain whether this is a service from which you would benefit.
How Often Do I Need a Professional Dental Cleaning?
The ADA and other such professional organizations typically encourage adults to schedule dental cleanings at least once every six months. However, some patients may have reason to schedule dental cleanings more frequently. Potential reasons to do so include:
- Gum disease: A patient with periodontal disease may require more frequent cleaning than most other patients. That said, seeing a dentist regularly for cleanings is often an effective way to guard against gum disease in the first place.
- Health conditions: Various health conditions can leave someone more vulnerable to oral and dental health issues. For example, someone with a weakened immune system might need extra dental cleanings to prevent infections.
- Habits and lifestyle: People who smoke, consume large quantities of sweet foods, or engage in other such habits are at greater-than-average risk of experiencing dental decay and related issues. As such, they may benefit from scheduling dental cleanings more often than others.
Discuss this matter in greater detail with your dentist if you have concerns. They can explain how frequently you should schedule a cleaning, and why. By working together, you and your dentist can keep your teeth healthy for life!