Are Dental Cleanings Necessary?

We get it; dental cleanings can be inconvenient and time-consuming. You have to shift around your schedule, maybe even take time off work. But no matter how bothersome booking a dental cleaning can be, the inconvenience is absolutely worth the investment. 

When it comes to your dental health, regular dental cleanings are an essential step to preventing future issues and ensuring your teeth are in pristine condition. Many people believe that daily personal oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing are enough, but there are several reasons why regular cleanings are necessary. 

What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

Even after years of going to the dentist, you may not know what happens during a typical dental cleaning. Of course, you know that your hygienist and dentist clean your teeth and examine your overall oral health, but what exactly does this entail? And why is it so important? 

Although the process varies from dentist to dentist, a typical dental cleaning involves the following steps:

An Initial Inspection

To begin, a dental hygienist will examine your teeth and gums. During this initial inspection, your hygienist will check your mouth for areas that may need extra attention or issues that could affect a regular cleaning. Your hygienist will also use this time to ask if you have any questions or concerns regarding your oral health. 

Digital X-Rays

Before your cleaning, your dentist will take digital x-rays of your teeth and mouth. This process can help identify numerous oral issues. Your dentist can also use these images to see how your oral health is changing over time. 

Digital x-rays can alert your dentist to any of the following problems:

Removal of Plaque and Tartar

After your dentist digitally x-rays your mouth, they will move on to the cleaning. The first step in cleaning is usually removing plaque and tartar using a tool called a scaler

Plaque is the bacteria that builds up around your teeth. If you don’t correctly remove plaque, it can turn into tartar, which can cause cavities and gum disease

Although you can remove plaque through regular at-home brushing and flossing, your dentist will be able to remove plaque in areas that you may have missed. 

Professional Polishing & Flossing

Once most of the plaque and tartar in your mouth has been removed, your dentist or hygienist can focus on removing any other stains. They will use an electric brush and gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth properly and then floss away any leftover plaque. 

During this step, your dentist or hygienist will often ask about your oral hygiene habits and make recommendations tailored to your needs.

Final Inspection

Once your hygienist has cleaned your teeth, your dentist may perform a final examination. They will go over any concerns they have and discuss treatment options with you if necessary. 

Benefits of Regular Dental Cleanings 

Now that you know what happens during a typical dental cleaning, here’s a list of benefits that come with regular dental cleanings: 

  • A brighter, whiter smile
  • Help to prevent gum disease and early tooth loss
  • Helps your dentist detect oral cancers, which can be cured if noticed early enough
  • May reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease
  • Allows your dentist to detect early signs of problems such as broken fillings and fractures
  • Save money in the long run by avoiding potentially expensive treatments and repairs
  • Provide an opportunity for your dentist to compare the state of your oral health to that of previous visits

What Happens When You Don’t Have Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly?

Regular cleanings can help detect problems before they get worse or from even occurring in the first place. Some of the things that can happen if you miss regular dental cleanings include:

How Often Should You Get Your Teeth Cleaned?

For patients with proper oral health, the Canadian Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist for a cleaning twice a year. 

In some cases, your dentist may recommend regular cleanings more often than twice a year. This applies to patients who:

  • Are more likely to develop cavities or gum disease
  • Have a history of gum disease or oral health issues 
  • Have a chronic illness such as a heart condition or diabetes due to their proven link to dental problems 

Visiting your dentist every six months gives you a chance to ensure your teeth look good and feel good for years to come. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health, contact us today!