We all know that it's important to get routine dental exams and cleanings to help maintain our good oral health. What we don't all know though is what cleanings entail. At Riverstone Family Dentistry we feel that this is just as important to understand, which is why we will gladly take some time to educate you on this topic.
When you Should Visit Your Dentist for a Cleaning
Good oral hygiene is simply something you can't afford to overlook. This is why you should have started seeing a dentist within 6 months of your first tooth erupting. From there you should continue seeing a dentist for a cleaning every 6 months (twice a year) unless you're having oral health issues, which is when you should see your dentist more frequently.
What to Expect During a Cleaning
During a tooth cleaning, you'll have dental plaque (a soft, stick, bacteria-laden material) and tartar (a hard, calcified deposit) removed from your teeth. This is important because it will help you prevent cavities and gingivitis from developing. To do this though we must use a small mirror and a scaler. Afterwards, we will polish your teeth using a small, rubber motorized cup that's attached to an abrasive polishing compound.
Once the process is completed, you'll no longer have any plaque or tartar on your teeth. This is what gives your teeth their yellow tint so your teeth will immediately look much whiter. However, you should know that this isn't the goal of a dental cleaning. The goal of a dental cleaning is to make sure you have a healthy smile, which is why we will thoroughly check your entire mouth for things like cavities that may need a filling.
None of this should be painful. You should immediately tell us if you're feeling any pain so that we can make you feel more comfortable by applying a topical anesthetic. This is a procedure that's meant to help you and your teeth, which is why you should also know that there's no detrimental effect to having professional teeth cleaning done. The only time you may notice an adverse effect is if you already have gum disease. When this is the case, you may experience your teeth growing a bit loose after a cleaning.
How to Prepare for a Cleaning
The more frequently you brush (with a desensitizing toothpaste) and floss your teeth, the less likely plaque and tartar will develop. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't still visit your dentist every 6 months. It's just one of the many things you can do to keep your smile healthy and prepare for cleaning. Additionally, if you're afraid that visiting the dentist will leave you in pain, you can take an Advil both before and after your appointment.
Hopefully now that you have more information, you feel as though you have a better understanding of cleaning. If you still have any questions about this though, make sure to call Riverstone Family Dentistry at (360) 326-1443, so we can schedule an appointment to answer your questions as soon as possible.