“I brush my teeth twice a day -- what does my dentist do that I don’t?” When it comes to your twice-yearly cleanings at the dentist, the answer is “A lot.” Dental cleanings at your dentist’s office serve multiple functions.
Removes Plaque Buildup
The first is to get your teeth cleaner than your toothbrush can at home. Over time, bacteria on your teeth start to collect, forming a film called plaque on your teeth. That plaque can further harden and turn from into tartar, which is also known as calculus.
When you go to your dentist’s office, a dental hygienist will clean your teeth using special instruments designed to remove tough, stuck-on plaque and tartar. This can involve scraping the teeth with special tools to especially tough areas. Because your teeth are covered in enamel -- the strongest material in your body -- this pressure will not hurt your teeth. (Although that does not mean you should try to scrape your teeth at home.)
Strengthens Your Teeth
In addition to removing built-up bacteria on your teeth, a dental cleaning also serves to strengthen your teeth. That’s because your dentist will apply a special tooth-strengthening material called fluoride to your teeth. While your toothpaste contains a small amount of fluoride, this application contains a professional-strength quantity. Fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth’s surface that bacteria can erode over time.
The final purpose of a dental cleaning is for your dentist to pinpoint any areas of decay that may need extra attention. Over time, excess bacteria buildup can damage a tooth so much the bacteria can penetrate into the more delicate layers. This can lead to pain and infection. By visiting your dentist every six months, your dentist can identify any early decay signs and treat them before they worsen.
Schedule Your Teeth Cleaning
While twice yearly dental cleanings are important for everyone, there are a few types of dental patients for which regular visits are vital to dental health. This includes people who smoke, have diabetes or who have a family history of significant tooth decay. If you have one or more of these risk factors associated with dental decay, you may need to visit your dentist’s office more frequently. Of course, you should also contact your dentist if you are experiencing tooth pain, sudden sensitivity to hot or cold or bleeding gums.
Until it is time for your six-month appointment, maintain your regular dental hygiene schedule. This means brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and floss daily to remove built-up particles between the teeth. These healthy habits and regular dentist visits can help you maintain strong, healthy teeth.
Are you in need of a dental cleaning? Schedule an appointment in our Canton, MA office today by calling (781) 828-1090.