Why Are Dental Cleanings So Important

Dental cleanings are by far the most common dental procedure. Most dentists recommend a cleaning every six months as it is an important part of maintaining your oral health and decreasing the risk of other health problems, some oral and some not.

Dentists look for and diagnose oral problems and diseases and have the proper equipment to do so. Remember, although brushing your teeth every day is an important part of keeping good oral hygiene, toothbrushes won’t clean as efficiently as a dentist’s tools. Some things such as plaque can get left behind and require a professional with plenty of experience to help clean your teeth.

What Are The Different Types of Dental Cleanings?

There are four main dental cleanings; regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis), scaling and root planing (SRP), periodontal maintenance, and gross debridement (deep cleaning).

General Cleaning (Dental Prophylaxis)

A Dental Prophylaxis is the standard dental cleaning and routine checkup. This process mainly focuses on eliminating built-up plaque and stains on your teeth. It’s the most common type of cleaning people get at their appointment and its very straight forward.

They hygienist uses special instruments to clean in between your teeth where most of the buildup tends to pile up on. Regular brushing and flossing helps keep this procedure quick and easy, but it’s still needed since there are areas that can only be cleaned by a hygienist.

Depending on when was your last cleaning, the hygienist may take x-rays to monitor your improvement and give the dentist a better look should anything be hiding.

Scaling and Root Planing (SRP)

Scaling and root planing, or SRP, is a more invasive process, mainly targeting the gum pockets and bases and roots of your teeth. This process is only required when you have extreme amounts of plaque and tartar buildup. It can also be an extensive process, containing several sessions.

Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance involves continuous monitoring to maintain your oral health well. This form of treatment aims at those with gum disease. It could also be useful to someone with other health issues affecting their oral health and gums. Appointments for periodontal maintenance occur weeks apart and can include standard or deep teeth cleanings.

Deep Cleanings

Deep cleanings, also known as gross debridement, are cleanings that are far more in-depth than the standard cleaning. This cleaning process is typically for patients with immense amounts of plaque build-up, most common in those who rarely get their teeth professionally cleaned or have not seen a dentist in years.

The Dental Cleaning Process

Before the cleaning process, your dental hygienist checks your teeth and gums thoroughly with a small mirror for any signs of inflamed gums or other potential health concerns. If any significant problems are spotted, your dental hygienist might call the dentist to examine your teeth or gums for any major health concerns.

However, this is only in serious cases that may require the teeth cleaning to be put on hold for further examination.

After this, your dental hygienist utilizes a tool called a scaler to remove any plaque and tartar near your gum line and in between your teeth. They’ll spend more time scraping particular areas if there’s lots of buildup of tartar.

This brings in the importance of proper brushing and flossing, as they stop plaque from building up and eventually hardening into tartar. Tartar buildup can only be removed at a dentist’s office. Foods such as pasta and bread are known for building up tartar more on your teeth. Severe tartar buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if neglected, one more reason to see your dentist every six months.

Once the tartar has been scraped off your teeth, an electric brush is used by your dental hygienist to brush your teeth. This is an important part of the cleaning process because it removes any leftover tartar the scaler might’ve not scraped while also deeply cleaning your teeth.

A toothpaste with a gritty consistency is used to brush your teeth. While many often use toothpaste with a normal scent and taste, some dental hygienists often give you the option to choose between a few flavored options.

With the brushing out of the way, your dental hygienist then flosses your teeth, looking out for any signs of easy bleeding in certain gum areas. This part of the process ensures removing any plaque or toothpaste that may have been left over earlier from the brushing. This is followed by a rinse to ensure there is nothing left over in your mouth.

The final stage of dental cleaning involves a fluoride treatment.

Fluoride is used to protect your teeth from cavities or other problems until your next visit. The texture of the fluoride varies from a thick paste to a gel and is placed on your teeth. Once contact is made with your saliva, the fluoride will harden. This’ll help keep your teeth strong and help prevent tooth decay.

This entire process usually takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the health of your heath and amount of plaque buildup that needs to be removed.

When Should Children Get Their First Cleaning?

Your child’s first dental cleaning usually happens around the age of 12 – 36 months.

This varies from child to child since it is best to have your child’s first cleaning when most of the baby teeth have arrived. This does not mean a child does not need to see the dentist even if no teeth are present. All the contrary, this could be a sign of something serious going on and regardless of one tooth or many, your child (ren) should see a dentist every six months from the arrival of the first tooth.

How Much Do Dental Cleanings Cost?

In both Illinois and Wisconsin, a dental cleaning can vary anywhere from $75 to $200, with the average cost being $125. A very small cost to help prevent possible costly dental procedures such as extractions or fillings and even your way of life.

Typically, most general insurance plans cover the cleaning or a certain amount of the total cost. It’s important to know what your insurance covers before going to get your teeth cleaned. You can always ask your dentist office if they can check coverage before making an appointment.

Who Should Get Them?

Everyone! No doubt about it.

Even adults or seniors who use dentures should see their dentist on a regular schedule.

There are several benefits to getting dental cleanings, both for children and adults. They help prevent cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and other health concerns.

The stains from coffee or tobacco can be cleaned off and help freshen up your teeth. They help maintain good oral hygiene, including keeping your mouth fresh and free of bad breath. Most importantly, regular dental cleanings help lower the chance of other health conditions not in your mouth.

Life-threatening medical issues, such as strokes or heart disease, can be detected early on during oral exams.

Brushing and flossing your teeth daily is part of maintaining good oral health, but visiting the dentist regularly is the second step. The equipment used to clean your teeth is far more efficient and powerful than your toothbrush at home. Never underestimate the effects tooth decay and bad oral hygiene can impose not only on your mouth, but on the rest of your body.

By now I hope you realize why are dental cleanings so important and shouldn’t be something you keep telling yourself you will get it done next year or forget.

Has it been more than 6 months since your last cleaning? Then its time and don’t put it off any longer for your health’s sake.

Here at The Teeth People we make dental cleanings near Rockford, IL the most comfortable and anxiety-free!

Below are some tips to make your next cleaning the best experience it can be.

Tips for your best dental cleaning and impress your dentist

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Use mouthwash to rise when done brushing (consider using tartar protection mouthwash)
  • Limit sugary foods and avoid bitting down on hard candy
  • Schedule your cleanings every six months (that’s only twice a year!)
  • Lastly, talk to your dentist and be honest about how you are feeling
  • If you feel any discomfort, tell your hygienist. Don’t be shy to say something

Meet the dentist

Dentist Dr. Chung

Dr. Thomas Chung is a licensed dentist practicing in the Rockford, IL area for over 10 years.

  • (815) 226-5432
  • 1425 S Mulford Rd, Rockford, IL 61108
  • Mon & Tues: 9am - 5pm
    Wed: 7am -2pm*
    Thurs & Fri: 7am - 2pm
    Sat: Closed
    Sun: Closed

    *Please call first

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