Regular dental cleanings completed by a dental hygienist remove bacteria from your mouth. Even with good tooth brushing and flossing habits, they cannot remove all the bacteria. There are nooks and crannies in your mouth that home care tools just can’t access. Areas such as deep grooves or pits and underneath the gum line. The best way to maintain oral health is adequate home care in addition to regular dental cleanings.
During your dental cleaning, your dental hygienist will first update your medical history. In many cases, there is a correlation between oral health and overall health.
Next, your dental hygienist will perform an extraoral and intraoral examination. During this exam, your hygienist will be checking the health of your gums, tissues and teeth. As well, they will be looking for any abnormalities. Your dental hygienist may update your gum measurements to check the health of the gum support around each tooth.
After this, a combination of hand tools and a water jet will be used to clean the plaque and calculus off your teeth. Calculus (also called tartar) is plaque that has calcified onto your teeth and must be manually removed – it cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss at home. All calculus will be removed from above and below the gum line. Then, your dental hygienist will polish your teeth to remove all stains.
Fluoride may also be administered at the cleaning appointment based on need. Cavity-prone patients in particular benefit from fluoride.
How Frequently Should you See your Dental Hygienist?
The frequency at which you have your dental cleanings will be a conversation with your dental hygienist. The recommended frequency will be based on gum health, medical history, cavity rate, your oral self-care routine, and compliance. Generally, 3-4 month cleanings are recommended if there is current or past gum disease, high cavity risk or poor oral self-care. 6-month cleanings are recommended when your gums are healthy, and you are doing a good job with brushing and flossing between visits.