Preventive dentistry is the practice of caring for your teeth to keep them healthy. This helps to avoid cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and more.
There are many forms of preventive dentistry, such as daily brushing and dental cleanings. To maintain optimal oral health, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visits to the dentist at regular intervals determined by a dentist.
Before the actual cleaning process begins, the dentist will start with a physical exam of your entire mouth and soft tissues.
The dental hygienist uses specialized instruments to get rid of plaque and tartar build up around your gum line, as well as in between your teeth.
Whether you floss regularly at home or not, nothing beats an expert flossing session. Your dental hygienist can get deep between your teeth and locate any potential trouble spots where you might bleed at the gums.
The last step of the cleaning process is a fluoride treatment, particularly for those patients that are under 18. This treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight agains cavities for several months.
Professional teeth cleanings are scheduled twice a year, while X-rays are normally done once a year. Still, depending on what your dentist or dental hygienist observes in your mouth, they might do other exams during your visit. For children, a dentist may recommend molar sealants to help prevent cavities in hard-to-brush areas.
Whether you need any additional steps or not, the key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease, you may already have had a special cleaning called “scaling and root planing.” You also may have had periodontal surgery. The dental cleanings recommended after these treatments are called “periodontal cleaning, or perio maintenance.”
Periodontal maintenance involves a cleaning that is deeper than a normal cleaning in a dental office. Patients with a history of periodontal disease need deeper cleanings because periodontal “pockets” have formed. Pockets are spaces between the teeth and gums where plaque and tartar form.
While more intensive, this cleaning process is essential to restore and maintain gum and bone health. If bacteria are present in your mouth, it can lead to inflammation, infection, and can cause other health issues. Periodontal maintenance will require you to come in more frequently than every 6 months.
If periodontal maintenance is prescribed for you, don’t worry! We work with every patient to ensure comfort during the procedure. We will talk to you about appropriate anesthetic options and how frequently you should plan on the cleaning procedure. We can also help work with insurance to understand what amounts are covered depending on your plan.