Let’s say you have great dental hygiene habits. You brush as directed, floss every day, and consume sugary and acidic foods in moderation. Your teeth are pearly white, your breath is great, and you can’t remember the last time you had a cavity. Yet your dentist wants you to come in every six months for a cleaning. Why?
No matter how good your habits are, standard home equipment can only go so far towards keeping your teeth clean. Twice-yearly annual cleanings are important preventative maintenance for your teeth, and while they can sometimes be inconvenient or uncomfortable, you’ll be glad you got them! Let’s talk about what exactly goes into a professional teeth cleaning.
One of the most important parts of a professional cleaning, this is usually the first step. Your hygienist will use a concave mirror and/or x-rays to check for cavities, plaque, and other issues. Even if you have no cavities or serious issues, this step helps the hygienist know what to focus on during cleaning.
Sometimes your dentist will also come in post-cleaning for a secondary exam, and may recommend other procedures as a result. Make sure you let them know about any discomfort or pain during the cleaning, as these can be indicators of underlying dental issues.
When you see your hygienist bring out a scary looking hook, don’t panic! This menacing little guy is called a scalar, and it’s designed to scrape tartar off of your teeth. Tartar is a natural buildup of plaque and saliva minerals that harden over time; it’s also porous, meaning it’s easily stained by food and drink.
Tartar is not easily removed by floss or brushing, and scalars have the necessary oomph to scrape it from your teeth.
To finish the job, your hygienist polishes your teeth with what’s basically a high-powered electric toothbrush. The secret ingredient is a gritty toothpaste called prophylaxis paste, a mild abrasive responsible for the tickling sensation you may feel.
Polishing removes stains and blemishes on your teeth, and is usually followed up by a good flossing.
Most dentists recommend having your teeth cleaned twice per year, and many dental insurance plans cover these cleanings as part of the cost. Klooster Family Dentistry is happy to keep our clients across the Triangle in good health! Contact us today to schedule your dental cleaning appointment.