Routine dental cleanings are an essential aspect of oral healthcare. When you have a teeth cleaning, harmful plaque, tartar, and bacteria are removed from the teeth surfaces. This helps prevent cavities, gum disease, and other harmful oral health issues. When combined with appropriate at-home dental care, teeth cleanings can save you time, worry, and money in the future.
The Importance of Preventative Care
Preventative care helps our dental team detect and treat problems early on, before they progress. Once your teeth have been cleaned, it takes a few months for oral bacteria levels to rise again. To keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay, it’s important to attend regular dental cleanings and practice good oral hygiene between visits.
What is a prophylaxis cleaning?
When you attend the dentist for your biannual dental examination, one thing the oral hygienist will examine is your plaque and tartar buildup. If you have a Mild to moderate accumulated tartar, they will perform a prophylaxis cleaning to combat risks to your oral health. The hygienist uses a device called an ultrasonic scaler to remove excess tartar. This treatment is ideal for healthy patients who have good to excellent oral health.
Reasons for Prophylaxis Cleaning
The last thing you want is to develop periodontal disease, which can lead to major oral health issues. In addition to doing what you can at home, if you’re a high-risk patient, prophylaxis cleanings may be the best treatment option for you. Some of its many benefits include:
- Cost-effective: Most prophylaxis cleanings are no more expensive than your average dental cleaning. If you have dental insurance, it will likely cover the treatment cost as well, but be sure to consult with your plan beforehand. Even if you don’t have insurance, the treatment can usually be covered for very little out of pocket.
- Non-surgical: The entire procedure is non-surgical, with no invasion. No anesthesia or general numbing is required, making the process much simpler and quicker.
- The power of prevention: While you are practicing proper oral health at home, one or two prophylaxis cleanings can make all the difference in preventing gum disease.
Preventative dentistry allows you to take control of your oral health, since most of it takes place at home. However, if you do require additional preventative dental care, such as prophylaxis cleanings, they can easily be addressed in-house at our South Gate, CA dental practice.
Deep Dental Cleanings: When Prophylaxis Cleanings Aren’t Enough
If you develop gum disease as a result of poor oral hygiene, you may need to undergo a deep periodontal cleaning performed by a qualified dentist or certified dental hygienist. Some of the signs of periodontal disease include:
- Swollen or bleeding gums.
- Bad breath.
- Recessed gums.
During this procedure, the dentist will remove tartar above and below the gum line, along with smoothing your teeth through planing. If you are in need of a periodontal cleaning, your dentist will let you know, as the procedure is quite different from that of the prophylaxis cleaning.
Deep Dental Cleanings
A deep dental cleaning – also known as scaling and root planing – is recommended for treating the early stages of gum disease. This procedure is similar to a routine teeth cleaning. However, the gums are numbed with local anesthesia so that the hygienist or dentist can sweep away bacteria that has been trapped deep below the gum line.
Treating gum disease early gives you the best chance for a healthy smile. Following scaling and root planing, patients can maintain optimal gum health with routine teeth cleanings and proper oral hygiene at home.
How You Can Help at Home
By maintaining good brushing and flossing habits at home, you can help reduce your risk of gum disease and your need for more intense dental cleanings. Most preventative dental care occurs at home, so you have the power to make any lasting changes needed to improve your oral health.