Dentists often recommend you brush and floss regularly, and then visit the office every 6 months for a checkup and professional cleaning. The checkup is meant to look for potential problems – new cavities, gum inflammation, chips or cracks, but just as important as the checkup is the professional cleaning.
Professional cleaning allows a dentist or dental hygienist to clean your teeth in ways that is impossible – or at least, impractical – to do at home. The professional cleaning will focus on removal of tartar – mineralized plaque that has become calcified and bonded to the teeth. Because tartar develops even though the patient routinely brushes and flosses properly, and because tartar can not typically removed with normal brushing and flossing, the tools used during the professional cleaning are vital to removal of the tartar, which will harbor significant colonies of bacteria if not removed.
The dentist (or hygienist) will also polish the teeth, smoothing the surface and making it more difficult for plaque to accumulate. Typically done with a small rubber cup and an abrasive polishing compound (similar to a very strong, abrasive toothpaste), the polishing phase of the cleaning will leave teeth looking brighter and feeling cleaner, in addition to the invisible bonus of plaque prevention.
Finally, for patients with mild to moderate gingivitis or periodontal disease, a dentist may also perform non-surgical dental scaling, where plaque and calcified tartar is removed from below the gum line. Left untreated, the plaque and tartar below the gum line can grow into large colonies that contribute to tender, bleeding gums and eventually bone loss and tooth loss.
While visiting the dentist may be scary for some, regular visits establish better oral health, making future visits more comfortable. If you have questions about what to expect in your regular cleaning appointment, contact your dentist and ask about the procedure. They’ll be glad to explain the process and work with you to make an appointment.
For more information about oral health by Dental Associated of Hoboken in Hoboken, NJ call 201-795-2111 or visit www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.
Dental Associates of Hoboken also proudly accept patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark, and surrounding areas.