How Often Should You Get Your Teeth Cleaned?

How Often Should You Get Your Teeth Cleaned?

Team General Dentistry

Per the American Dental Association, all people should begin seeing a dentist by their first birthday, or within six months of the first tooth erupting. From then on, patients of all ages should visit the dentist every six months for an evaluation and cleaning. Twice yearly cleanings can prevent countless oral health problems from developing, escalating, and requiring extensive and sometimes expensive treatments. Read on to learn why twice-yearly dental cleanings are invaluable.

Teeth Cleaning for Plaque & Stain Removal

One of the primary reasons you should see the dentist for a professional cleaning twice a year is to remove plaque from the teeth. Plaque forms constantly on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, thin layer of bacteria. Regular brushing and flossing remove a great deal of plaque. However, even those who are meticulous about oral hygiene (such as dentists!) still need to have their teeth cleaned. This is because, no matter how hard you try to get rid of all plaque, brushing and flossing at home just can’t clean it all off. The plaque often accumulates under the gum and between your teeth

When you see the dentist, they will use plaque scrapers, and more powerful cleaning tools to remove plaque. Advanced dental tools just as prophy-jet polishers are also more effective at removing stains than a toothbrush you use at home. 

What Does Plaque Do to the Teeth if Not Removed?

Plaque is responsible for all kinds of oral health problems. When left on the teeth, the bacteria leads to acid production which begins to eat away at the tooth enamel. This decay leads to the development of cavities. If plaque is left beneath the gum line, the bacteria can cause gum disease such as gingivitis. 

Plaque that is not removed will begin to harden to the teeth, forming tartar (also called calculus). Tartar is often yellow or brown, and it is strongly bonded to the teeth. The tartar will need to be removed by a dentist. In cases where tartar develops beneath the gum line, your dentist will need to perform a deep cleaning (known as scaling and root planing) to remove it. 

Services Provided During Routine Dental Cleanings

Plaque removal and polishing are excellent reasons to see the dentist twice yearly for cleaning. But many other services are provided that are just as vital to maintaining good oral health as teeth cleanings.

During your dental cleaning, you’ll also have a comprehensive dental examination and evaluation. Your dentist will be examining your whole mouth to look for:

  • Changes in soft tissues or lesions indicating a tumor or cancer
  • Signs of wear and tear on the teeth indicating teeth grinding
  • Signs of infection in the gums
  • Decay or infection in the teeth
  • Loss of jawbone
  • Signs that previous dental restorations need to be replaced

In addition, your dentist will order digital dental x-rays periodically to see beneath the gum line. Digital dental x-rays emit far less radiation than X-rays used years ago. They also produce very high-quality images that can illuminate infection inside teeth, microscopic fractures in teeth, and problems with the density of your jaw bone, indicating a bite misalignment.

For younger patients, digital dental x-rays allow your dentist to notify you of the arrival of wisdom teeth, identify any teeth that may be impacted, and plan for the adult teeth to erupt.  

Schedule a Dental Cleaning and Exam in New Brunswick

Although it is best to have your teeth cleaned twice yearly, do not let shame or embarrassment over not having received regular treatment prevent you from seeing a dentist. Achieving and maintaining good oral health is vital to maintaining good overall health. Our friendly, gentle, and compassionate dentists at Bellissimi Dental are here to help you get back on track with good oral health. If you do not have dental insurance, ask about our discount dental plan, which can save you up to 40% off regular dental cleanings and exams. We also accept CareCredit financing. Call 330-741-3334 or request an appointment for a dental cleaning and exam.