Dental Cleaning | Checkup

Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque from teeth, in order to prevent cavities (dental caries), gingivitis, and periodontitis. It is part of a complete program of oral hygiene.

Careful and frequent brushing with a toothbrush and the use of dental floss help to prevent build-up of plaque – bacteria on the teeth. These bacteria metabolize carbohydrates in our meals or snacks and excrete acid which demineralizes tooth enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay and toothache if acid episodes are frequent or are not prevented. Calculus (dental) or tartar buildup on teeth usually opposite salivary ducts is because of calcium deposits in resident plaque. Frequent brushing and swishing saliva around helps prevent these deposits. Cavities can be costly, in terms of the monetary cost to drill out the cavities and insert dental fillings, and in terms of the tissue already damaged.

Almost all cavities occur where food is trapped between teeth and inside deep pits and fissures in grooves on chewing surfaces where the brush, toothpaste, mouthwash, saliva and chewing gum, cannot reach.

Special appliances or tools may be recommended to supplement (but not to replace) tooth-brushing and flossing. These include special toothpicks, oral irrigators, or other devices. Initially electric toothbrushes were only recommended for persons who have problems with strength or dexterity of their hands, but many dentists are now recommending them to many other patients in order to improve their home dental care. Regular teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist is recommended to remove tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult for a patient to reach on his own at home. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.

Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned at least once every 12 to 24 months. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during the treatment of many of the dental/oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays.

However, in between cleanings by a dental hygienist, good oral hygiene is essential for preventing cavities, tartar build-up, and gum disease.