Teeth Cleaning & Dental Checkups
There are many ways you can play an active role in maintaining your oral health. Having your teeth cleaned in our office every six months is an excellent place to start. Our hygienists and dentists identify plaque and problem areas before thoroughly cleaning your teeth, providing you with information to sustain a happy, healthy smile.
Why is it important to have consistent teeth cleanings and checkups?
Routine checkups are an essential part of proper oral hygiene. Some of the benefits of regular teeth cleanings include:
- Healthier bones and gums.
- Longer lasting teeth.
- Early detection and treatment of cancer and other oral health conditions.
- Beautiful, healthy smiles.
What happens when we miss teeth cleanings?
Failure to keep up on proper oral hygiene can lead to:
- An impaired ability to eat and digest foods, leading to nutritional and systemic problems.
- Bad breath, resulting from advancing periodontal disease and/or rotting food particles.
- Negative effects on cardiovascular well-being and overall health.
- Gum infection and gangrene.
What to Expect at Your First Checkup
Our dental cleaning appointments are about an hour-long, and new patient visits typically last a bit longer. We take pride in getting to know each of our patients, tailoring treatments to the health needs and goals of every individual. Here’s what to expect the first time you come to our office:
- Dental History—A hygienist will gather dental and medical histories so that we have a clear picture of your current health, including any medical conditions that can impact dental treatment.
- Digital X-rays—We take digital x-rays as diagnostic material for your comprehensive oral exam. If you have had x-rays taken within the last 12 months, please have them sent to our office. If you are unable to have x-rays taken, please inform the hygienist as you give your medical history.
- Oral Screening and Teeth Exams—After we perform an oral cancer/lesion screening for symptoms of cancer and other illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, we examine your teeth for decay.
- Gum Evaluation and Teeth Cleanings—Our hygienist will evaluate your gums, measuring periodontal pockets with a probe, and clean your teeth by identifying and removing areas of tartar, plaque, and calculus.
- Oral Hygiene Habits—We end your visit by reviewing and reinforcing proper oral hygiene.
Proper Oral Hygiene: How to Prevent Tooth Decay
There are several simple and affordable ways in which you can fight tooth decay—a common chronic health condition.
- Brush twice and floss once daily.
- Have dental cleanings and checkups twice a year.
- Eat fewer sugary and acidic foods.
- Take supplemental fluoride tablets if indicated by your oral healthcare provider, which make teeth more resistant to decay.
- Ask your dentist about additional cleaning supplements.
The Teeth Cleaning Procedure
When you come in for a cleaning, your dental hygienist identifies and removes plaque—a soft film that can be removed by brushing—and tartar—a hardened plaque that requires dental instruments for removal. We make every effort to clean all surfaces of your teeth, including the tiny spaces between your teeth and along gum-lines where bacteria gather.
We often complete the cleaning with prophy paste. Its coarse quality, which removes any remaining plaque as it dissolves into a finer texture, leaves the teeth shiny and smooth. We inform you of any areas where plaque and tartar build-up, so you can give those places extra attention by flossing and brushing each day. Our goal is to enable you to easily and effectively care for your teeth.
If indicated fluoride varnish will be placed on your teeth. Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. It is simply painted on the tops and sides of each tooth with a small brush. Treatment takes a total of less than 30 seconds. Fluoride varnish is safe and is used by physicians and dentists across the world. It is especially indicated in children, patients more prone to decay as well as patients with areas of recession.
Are there different kinds of teeth cleanings?
No. Prophylaxis—a fancy word for teeth cleaning—is the only dental procedure of its kind. Prophylaxis involves a routine teeth cleaning every six months.
The procedures that are sometimes called “cleanings” are actually periodontal treatments:
- Full Mouth Debridement—a pre-cleaning for those with severe calculus build up.
- Scaling and Root Planing—a deep cleaning for those with early stages of gum disease.
- Perio Maintenance—a periodontal cleaning for those with a history of gum disease.
The Cost of Teeth Cleaning
Most dental insurance policies include benefits that cover teeth cleanings. After all, not maintaining good oral hygiene will most likely lead to astronomical costs down the road, as failure to keep up with teeth cleanings often leads to serious and expensive health problems. Every patient’s budgetary situation is different, so we are happy to discuss yours with you. At a consultation, we present any possible costs up front to help you navigate your insurance benefits. Our main objective is to help you have a successful oral health experience.