You brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly, so why do you need to see the dentist for a professional cleaning? Can’t you just do it yourself? While at-home dental care is important, it’s only part of the puzzle. Professional dental cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral health. Here’s what you need to know.
what are professional cleanings?
A professional dental cleaning, also called prophylaxis, is a thorough cleaning performed by a dental hygienist. During the procedure, all of the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from your teeth will be removed. Plaque is a sticky film that contains bacteria. When plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into tartar, which can contribute to gum disease.
In addition to removing plaque and tartar, your dentist will also give your teeth a thorough polishing. This will help remove any surface stains and leave your teeth looking clean and shiny.
the importance of professional cleanings
Professional dental cleanings are important because they allow your hygienist to remove any buildup on your teeth that you may have missed while brushing and flossing at home. This buildup can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease if it’s not removed regularly.
In addition, professional dental cleanings give your dentist a chance to examine your mouth for signs of other problems, such as tooth decay or oral cancer. These problems can be much easier to treat when they’re caught early.
is every six months enough?
While it’s most often recommended for patients to see the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup, there are different recommendations for how often you should visit the dentist based on your risk factors. These determinants can increase your potential for cavities and other dental problems, which means you may need to get your teeth cleaned more often than twice per year. These risk factors include:
- Gum disease
- Whitening your teeth
- Having crowns, bridges, or braces
- Using tobacco products
- Drinking alcohol
- Dry mouth
If you meet any of these above criteria, your dentist may recommend that you get your teeth cleaned every three or four months instead of waiting longer between visits. Depending on the severity of your risk factor(s), you may even need to visit more frequently.
prioritize prevention to maintain a healthy smile
If you’re due for professional dental cleaning, don’t put it off any longer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today. Professional dental cleanings are an important part of maintaining good oral health, so make sure to see your hygienist for one at least every six months.