Dental cleanings, also known as dental prophylaxis, is done by a dentist or a hygienist to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. During a dental prophylaxis, the dentist or hygienist removes plaque from the teeth. Plaque forms inside the mouth when foods containing carbohydrates are eaten and residue remains in the mouth.
Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on this food and produce acids after ingesting it. If not removed, this acid destroys tooth enamel leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
During a professional cleaning, your dentist will perform the following:
- Remove plaque on the teeth.
- Remove tartar/calculus found above the gum line. When plaque hardens on the tooth surface, it develops into calculus, which is quite difficult to remove.
- Remove stains and polish the teeth.
Dental examinations are essential to help diagnose a disease before it worsens and dramatically affects a person’s health. Plus, regular visits to the dentist can help you save money in the long run since problems are addressed while they are still small and less expensive to repair. Dental examinations will include the following:
- Gum disease evaluation
- Oral cancer screening
- Visual examination of dental decay
- Evaluation of existing restorations, such as fillings, crowns, etc.
- Examination of diagnostic test results, such as X-rays, to detect tumors, cysts, hidden decay, and other dental problems that the naked eye cannot see
Regular dental checkups should be as important as visits to your regular doctor or dermatologist. Scheduling, and keeping, regular twice-yearly cleanings and checkups is a key to preventive dentistry and good oral health.